NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers have committed to spending nearly $900 million as part of a sweeping plan with Ford Motor Co. to build an electric vehicle and battery plant near Memphis.
It took the Republican-led General Assembly just three days to sign off on the economic package after Gov. Bill Lee called them back to the Capitol for a special legislative session.
Fewer than 10 lawmakers voted against or abstained from voting on the Ford bills.
Ford and South Korean battery maker SK Innovation announced last month that they would spend $5.6 billion to build a factory to produce electric F-Series pickups at the Memphis Regional Megasite in Haywood County, northeast of Memphis.
“This new partnership for the Megasite will unlock incredible potential of both Memphis and the entire West Tennessee region,” said Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville). “This historic deal will make us the automobile manufacturing leader in America.”
One of the bills approved by lawmakers approves a $500 million capital grant for the company, plus millions for workforce training and construction of wastewater systems and an interchange on Interstate 40. The other bill authorizes a Megasite authority to develop and operate the site.
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development said the Ford/SK plant will generate 27,000 new jobs to support the Megasite’s operations, including direct, indirect and induced new jobs. This will result in $1.02 billion in annual earnings.
This huge win puts Memphis, West Tennessee, and the entire state on the cutting edge of innovations in auto manufacturing,” said Beverly Robertson, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber.
“We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough to Ford, Gov. Bill Lee, the General Assembly, and our other economic development partners for helping make this happen for our state. And we’re just getting started. We look forward to working with more companies to ‘Join The Movement’ that is Memphis,” she said.