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Committees begin debate over Ford Megasite

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Posted at 11:16 AM, Oct 20, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — State lawmakers began debate over a massive planned Ford production factory for electric vehicles and batteries in West Tennessee, Tuesday.

The Ford Megasite, or Blue Oval City project, would be located near a small town in between Memphis and Jackson.

Lawmakers talked with state agencies involved in the project about how it would work.

While there's general support for the plan, some lawmakers had concerns about how it would work.

It calls for a board to oversee the Megasite that some believe has power not seen in other developments.

Republican state Rep. Kevin Vaughn raised questions about the board, which would have the power to condemn property.

"That is something not to be entered into lightly," said Vaughn. The reasoning for the power is to allow the company to shift if future circumstances require it too. An example given was the potential need for updated waste water systems.

There were also questions about whether there would be union requirements for contractors and other workers on site. Some lawmakers had concerns because many Tennessee companies are non-union shops.

Despite the concerns, lawmakers are still proponents of the site because of its potential benefits to West Tennessee which has seen population decline for years.

"When we weigh the opportunities for West Tennesseans against what's going to have to be given up or given away or might be able to keep, I think it far outweighs anything else that we could look forward to," said Boliver Democrat Rep. Johnny Shaw.

Lawmakers expect to finish up the discussion on Wednesday.