U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following statement regarding General Motors’ decision to put its Spring Hill plant on standby:
“GM’s decision to put its Spring Hill plant on standby is a blow to many employees who work there and to their families, but hopefully it will only be a short-term problem. I have discussed with Governor Bredesen how I can be of as much help as possible to those affected.
“For the longer term, there is no reason why the new GM cannot build cars and trucks at Spring Hill more competitively than at any other location in America. Tennessee offers hundreds of suppliers, one of the country’s best four-lane highway systems, a right-to-work law, thousands of trained workers, and low taxes. The Saturn plant was said to be the largest U.S. capital investment in history, and since then, General Motors has spent hundreds of millions modernizing it. For the same reasons that Saturn, Nissan, Volkswagen, and their suppliers located here, Tennessee will continue to be a major automotive center.
“What’s more, General Motors has a proud history in Tennessee. As Governor in 1985, I wrote the full-page ad for the Wall Street Journal that proudly said, ‘Saturn finally found a home in Spring Hill, Tennessee.’ Saturn was the most sought-after plant in America, and, together with Nissan’s arrival in 1980, helped attract the auto industry to a state that had almost no auto jobs, and to a region that had few. Today, nearly 150,000 jobs—or about one third of Tennessee’s manufacturing jobs—are auto-related, almost all of them at suppliers to the twelve auto-assembly plants that now are located in the southeastern United States.”