Beebe: Air Quality Reason for Toyota's Decision to Snub Crittenden County

FEBRUARY 28, 2007 - Posted at 7:27 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Beebe says air quality, not Arkansas's incentive package, was the deciding issue in Toyota's decision to put a new $1.3 billion plant in Mississippi, instead of a Crittenden County site near Marion.

Beebe said yesterday that the state was prepared to offer roughly $200 million worth of incentives to Toyota Motor Corporation.  The company announced earlier in the day that it would build Highlander sport-utility vehicles at a site near Tupelo, Mississippi.

Beebe said the determining factor in the company's decision was concern over air quality in the region.  The state has been monitoring Crittenden County's ozone levels since it was declared out-of-compliance with federal standards in 2004.  Crittenden County's air quality is affected by its proximity to Memphis, Tennessee, just across the Mississippi River.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)