Monday, June 04, 2007

Marion almost hits it big

Folks in Marion finally got encouraging news Friday, although some are suggesting it was not really that big a deal that the Japanese automaker is spending $70 million to expand production. That sounds pretty good and you would almost wonder who could find anything wrong with it.

To be perfectly honest, $70 million is nothing compared to the billion to build a new assembly line in Tupelo. Arkansas has still failed to line up the coveted super-project. The larger cause for celebration is that companies that spend any substantial amount on more facilities is not likely to just pull up and move to Korea. The Hino plant has employed hundreds more than originally projected, and those jobs will be sticking around.

Now, all is not perfect in Marion. Hino has not paid the $17 an hour typical for similar jobs in Memphis. The area has not been an abundant source of highly trained workers. Economic development in Arkansas is a work in progress. Marion may yet get the Hino production line, which is almost a super-project.

The larger projects are coming. How do I know? The consistent investment in education demands it. Just stand back.

(Broadcast June 4, 2007)

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