The carmaker's collusion with Big Government was part of its efforts to build the $5.6 billion BlueOval city in Stanton, Tennessee. The 4,100-acre facility located west of Memphis will employ about 5,800 people and will churn out 500,000 electric trucks annually at full production. According to Ford, BlueOval City is set to become operational in 2025. (Related: Ford recalls electric version of iconic Mustang muscle car, citing manufacturing defect.)
According to a Reason article, state lawmakers overwhelmingly approved legislation granting Ford $884 million in incentives, including a $500 million grant from the state's current budget surplus. Aside from this, $384 million was also given to Ford for site preparation – including $200 million for road improvements and $138.2 million for infrastructure and demolition services.
"The bill also apportioned $745,100 to fund the Megasite Authority of West Tennessee, an 11-person board with the power to execute contracts on behalf of the development. It can also take privately-owned land, via eminent domain, in order to facilitate construction of the facility and supporting infrastructure," the news portal wrote.
Eminent domain refers to the authority claimed by the government to seize private property for public use, provided the owner receives "just compensation" for their property.
Meanwhile, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is seeking 35 separate tracts to construct a series of road connections and widenings. These will link BlueOval City to the Exit 39 off I-40. TDOT spokeswoman Nichole Lawrence said the state has so far seized 15 tracts, and that the state is negotiating with property owners for the remaining 20.
Farmers whose lands are being grabbed by the TDOT in behalf of Ford aren't easily giving up.
Marvin Sanderlin, a farmer who owns 400 acres, was sued by the state for 10 acres of his property. The state government had been eyeing 10 acres of his property as they are in the path of a planned roadway connecting the Ford plant to the interstate. He turned down the $37,500 offer – amounting to $3,750 per acre – proposed by the state.
"You can't buy land here for $3,500 an acre. You can’t buy a swamp here for $3,500" Sanderlin said. "I told them this is the biggest ripoff there is. They want your land, but they don't want you to participate in the wealth."
Retired school teacher Ray Jones was named as a defendant in a lawsuit from the state government in February. The state government sought an acre of his land for $8,165.
"It's been our heritage. The land's deed notes the land cannot be sold. It's been passed down for 100 years," he remarked. "We are 100 percent in support of BlueOval. But then you want to take my spring and give me pennies on it? It’s an unreasonable situation."
Eighty-two-year-old Rosa Whitemore rejected an $8,000 offer for nearly two acres of her farmland. However, she did not learn of the state's plans to take her property until she was served with a condemnation lawsuit months later. "There's nothing we can do with $8,000 except be mad.
Watch this Next News Network report about President Joe Biden approving California's request to eradicate gas-powered trucks.
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