More Competition for Kia

By: Stan Torgerson
By: Stan Torgerson

Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott said Thursday that a delegation from Tunica, Miss., has asked for his support in landing a Kia automotive plant.

It's the newest entry in the auto plant race, Meridian, Tupelo, and Columbus in trying to land it.

"I met this very morning with Tunica who's now saying, 'hey, we're close to a large metropolitan area, we have access to rail, we have good highways, we now have a very fine joint aviation facility, we'd like to compete," said Lott in a conference call with Mississippi reporters.

But Lott said he will not choose up sides.

"The main thing I want is more blue chip industry coming into Mississippi creating better paying jobs," Lott said. "And if they're not happy with one site, let's get them to another one. Let's find the right one where we can close the deal."

He welcomes the competition, but the senator said he is troubled by it as well.

"I am a little bit concerned that some people say, 'don't help those folks up there in Tupelo because that might put us in a weaker position.' My attitude is let's help them all. If Meridian needs more road funds or infrastructure funds or industrial sites, let's help them," said Lott.

Lott said he will not paint himself into a corner by pushing one city over another.

"I'm at the point of my life where I try to be fair and I try to make a decision. I have purposely promoted Meridian and Lauderdale County because I think they have a lot to offer," Lott said. "If we can't sell Meridian on the sites we have around Meridian, let's go to Hickory or let's go to Columbus."

But he says Meridian just makes good sense. With Nissan on one side and Hyundai and Mercedes on the other, an automobile manufacturing corridor in this area would be good for the companies as well as for our city and county.

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