The Real Class Act Message of Toyota
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
February 13, 2003

When I attended the news conference of the Toyota announcement, I had no idea what to expect other than that Toyota is a world wide success story and it is coming to town.  Every public official that could get there was there.  Every news outlet in town was there.

The news conference was most interesting to me as a glimpse of how Toyota sees Bexar County and importantly, how it intends to operate as our newest and most significant corporate citizen.  First of all, Dennis Cuneo, Toyota Senior Vice President in charge of plant site selection, stated that the two main things that attracted Toyota to Bexar County were 1. The creation of a Rail District by Bexar County.  This allows Toyota options as to rail service that have not existed.  Seventy percent of Toyota's vehicles are shipped from their plants by rail!  2. The Workforce training availability will secure and sustain the education of a capable workforce for Toyota. 

Two other responses to questions asked of Dennis Cuneo at the news conference indicated to me how they intend to handle matters of diplomacy relative to their business.  First question: What about unions?  The response was that with the kind of salaries they pay, they have found that most of their plants have not sought to be unionized.  However, if they mess up or create a problem, the plant here may choose to have a union.  One of their six American plants is unionized.  Second question: What about the cultural clash between Toyota and our local community?  They have a plant in San Francisco, which has a very diverse community.  They are doing just fine there.

Of significance to each of us locally is that San Antonio, Bexar County and the State of Texas were able to attract the Toyota Plant without being the "highest bidder".  Contending states Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi offered from $150 to $500 million while we successfully offered $133,250,000.  According to the Express-News, recent successful incentive offers by states to other automakers were Mississippi to Nissan for $695 million; Alabama to Mercedes for $438.7 million and Alabama to Hyundai for $252.8 million in incentives. 

To me, this speaks loads about our community.  Each and every one of you contributes by your presence and good works to the quality of our community.  Finally, the item that seemed to be a bottom line in selecting San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas was the caliber of cooperation and support reflected in your elected officials.  And in the final analysis of our democracy, isn't that the way our system should work?

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