Diane Black is taking on a sprawling West Tennessee industrial site that includes a 35-mile-long wastewater pipeline.
The Republican gubernatorial candidate blasted the Memphis Regional Megasite in an op-ed that appeared in the April 25 Commercial Appeal. The state government has left West Tennessee “behind” through neglect, she wrote.
“Infrastructure is a big part of that,” Black wrote. “It is hugely important both to Memphis and to rural West Tennessee. I’ve spoken with representatives from the Trump Administration and my congressional colleagues about finishing I-69 and I-22. These projects are almost complete, they simply require a governor committed to getting it done.
“I will continue to work with the President and Vice President to make sure West Tennessee gets the federal infrastructure dollars it needs to complete road projects and bring broadband to rural counties.”
The megasite consists of 4,100 acres of industrial real estate, according to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development website.
Black calls the megasite a “boondoggle” 13 years in the making that has cost $140 million and needs an additional $100 million and still is a few years from having completed infrastructure. The wastewater pipeline will cost at least $75 million, she said, and some estimate the cost could be double that.
In her op-ed, Black proposes a host of solutions, including using the megasite to create an agricultural hub and to host a University of Tennessee Ag Research Center. She proposes to eliminate the wastewater pipeline as well.