There is a looming crisis in the Third Congressional District, one with a direct impact on the commercial and recreational boating industry on the Tennessee River.
The issue at hand is federal funding for the rebuilding of the Chickamauga Lock. Both Senator Lamar Alexander and Democratic Congressional nominee Mary Headrick realize the Lock is too important to our economic well-being to allow it to get caught up in partisan gridlock. They have both come out in favor of a marine diesel fuel tax increase to help fund the Lock replacement.
The closure of the Chickamauga Lock is a real possibility. And if it is closed, Chattanooga would be cut off from 319 miles of navigable river and 31 barge terminals upstream of the city. Barges can be replaced, but at a great cost to our economy and infrastructure. The cargo capacity of one barge is the equivalent of 15 rail cars or 60 eighteen-wheelers. A local operator states his company moves an average of 20 barges a week through the Chickamauga Lock. Is it any wonder that the barge industry supports a tax increase on diesel fuel to help fund the Lock replacement?
But it is not just commercial traffic that is on the line here. If funding does not get passed, the Lock closes. Period. Recreational boating as we know it along the Tennessee River will end. Boaters from marinas located on and around Lake Chickamauga will lose navigable access to downtown Chattanooga and the Tennessee River Gorge.
Mary Headrick is committed to working across party lines to solve this pending crisis. She has made it clear she intends to find a solution and keep the Chickamauga Lock open. A vote for Mary Headrick is a vote for leadership and results on this and other issues that matter to the citizens of the Third District.
Jim and Annie Hall
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The lock would be complete by now if TVA had not misappropriated the money that was allocated for the project. TVA had to re-divert the money for their deliberate ash spill near Kingston in Roane County.
Formerly of Red Bank
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Excuse me, Mr. Boone, but I want to take exception. First, and I might be wrong, but is the lock project one of the Corps of Engineers, not TVA? Second, I don't recall that TVA deliberately caused the spill. Your remarks sound like a vendetta against anything public.
Thanks, Sen. Alexander, for taking a bold stand. Hopefully, the freshman congressman will join in and tell Grover Norquist to stick it.