Tennessee Governor Says Marion Toyota Plant Would Still Benefit His State

FEBRUARY 9, 2007 - Posted at 7:38 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen says that, if Chattanooga in his state's southeast doesn't land a planned Toyota assembly plant, another major Tennessee city would benefit from a site just across the Mississippi River from the state's western end.  That other site is in Marion, Arkansas, just a few miles and a river crossing west of Memphis, which would likely supply much of the workforce if Toyota chooses Marion over Chattanooga.

So Bredesen's state wins either way.

Yesterday, Bredesen denied a report that said his administration has asked Memphis city officials to not back Marion's effort to land the plant.  The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis, citing sources, reported last week that Bredesen didn't want Memphis to help Marion while Chattanooga was still in the running for the 2,000-employee plant.

But in a speech yesterday at Nashville, Bredesen said he was unaware of any such communication between his administration and Memphis.  He said he puts first priority on getting the plant in Tennessee, but it certainly would benefit the state to have the plant across the Mississippi River in Crittenden County, Arkansas.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)