Oct 21, 2021 - Business

Ford deal clears $884 million hurdle

Gov. Bill Lee speaks at an announcement for a historic Ford plant.

Gov. Bill Lee. Photo: Houston Cofield/Bloomberg via Getty Images

State leaders struck a triumphant tone Wednesday after legislators approved the $5.6 billion Ford production complex in West Tennessee.

Why it matters: The Ford plant is the single-largest economic development deal in state history and puts Tennessee at the forefront of electric vehicle manufacturing.

  • It also represents a long-sought investment in West Tennessee. Three governors worked to attract companies to the Memphis Regional Megasite that will now be home to Ford's Blue Oval City complex.

What they're saying: Gov. Bill Lee and other leaders said the Ford deal was nothing short of historic.

  • "There are a few days that feel as significant and important as a day like today," Lee told reporters after the deal was approved. "We should all be very proud of our state."
  • "This is something for all of us. It’s not red, it’s not blue," state Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, said Wednesday during a floor session. "This project has the potential not just to transform lives but to transform generations."

The big picture: Lawmakers from West Tennessee were particularly enthusiastic about the deal, saying it offered a vital infusion of quality jobs to a beleaguered region.

  • Lee said the megasite development once operational would lead to more than 27,000 new direct and indirect jobs, in addition to tens of thousands of temporary construction jobs.
  • Production of all-electric F-Series trucks will begin on the West Tennessee campus in 2025, according to a state news release.

By the numbers: The legislature approved $500 million in incentives for Ford in addition to millions for projects related to the deal.

  • $200 million will go toward road construction in and around the site.
  • About $138 million will go toward construction and demolition needs.
  • $40 million will go toward establishing a new on-site technical college location that could be a major employment pipeline for the plant.

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