Corker Says Talks On VW Expansion Renewed 3 Days After UAW Vote; Coppinger Says Deal To Bring $1.5 Million More For Schools

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

At a celebration Tuesday afternoon for the expansion of Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant, Senator Bob Corker said talks were renewed on the SUV project three days after plant employees narrowly rejected the United Auto Workers on April 21.

He said they were wrapped up by June 13.

Volkswagen, which plans a $600 investment at the site in connection with the expansion, will continue to receive tax abatements on real and property except for the school tax.

County Mayor Jim Coppinger said the expansion means $1.5 million more per year for the county schools. That brings the annual total from VW for the county schools to $4.3 million.

VW will continue to have an option to buy an additional 1,200 acres at Enterprise South through 2026.

The event drew a large crowd to the Hunter Museum - the same spot where it was first announced six years ago that Volkswagen would be building the Passat at the Enterprise South Industrial Park.

On the podium were VW officials, Senator Corker, Senator Lamar Alexander, Governor Bill Haslam, Mayor Andy Berke and County Mayor Coppinger.

Both Governor Haslam and Senator Alexander said, "We would not be standing here today were it not for Bob Corker."

The former Chattanooga mayor in turn praised the role of Governor Haslam, saying he has been his friend for over 40 years "and I've never been prouder of him."

He also praised the work of his top aide, Todd Womack, on the Volkswagen project.

Senator Corker made an allusion to the recent UAW controversy in which he was at odds with then-Chattanooga plant manager Frank Fischer. He said Volkswagen is partially government owned and has many stockholders.

He said, "It is sometimes confusing and sometimes somebody stands up and speaks for the company when they are actually speaking for themselves."

Christian Koch, the new plant manager, said the decision "is proof that we are here to stay."

He said locally based engineers will be working on changes to the 2015 Passat as well as an extensive redesign for 2016. He said they will also be keeping a close eye on trends in the American market and will be responding.

Senator Alexander said the decision to locate the research and design center at the Chattanooga plant marks the first such facility in the South. He said of the possibility of future such centers, "If it started in Chattanooga, it may end up in Chattanooga."  

Senator Corker recognized Senator Alexander as "the father of the auto industry in Tennessee."

Mayor Berke  said, "The eyes of the world are on Chattanooga."

A representative of Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said he was not present because "he's in D.C. voting. They had a large series of financial services appropriations votes and a vote on the highway trust fund."

 


3rd Edition Of Popular Stokes Photo Book To Be Issued

With a second edition of the popular Stokes Photo Book selling out, Chattanoogan.com will publish a third edition of 1,000 copies. John Wilson, publisher, said, "We continue to get calls and emails inquiring about the availability of this remarkable Chattanooga photo collection. So we have asked College Printing at Collegedale to put the almost 600-page book back on the presses. ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ABERNATHY, COURTNEY NATASHA 309 SUNRISE LN 2B CHATTANOOGA, 37411 40 Chattanooga AGGRAVATED ASSAULT BARHITE, MICHAEL W 1406 JOHN ROSS RD EAST RIDGE, 37412 33 Chattanooga Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) BEENE, ATLEE EARL 7441 CHAD ROAD HARRISON, 37341 42 Hamilton ... (click for more)

Obama Doesn't Want You To Save For College

Over the past few decades, federal aid for post-secondary education has decreased and transitioned largely from grants to guaranteed student loans.   At the same time, the cost of college has far exceeded the cost of inflation creating a situation in which college has become less affordable and causing students to pile up debt that is at an all-time high.   This debt ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Great Peace Pipe

There is a serious rift between our state legislators and Erlanger Hospital that has me worried. If I worry about something, it doubles the power of the worry. My problem? I am convinced we have the best collection of people at the State Legislature in Nashville we’ve ever had – I adore each of them. I am also blessed to believe Erlanger is back on track and, after a sensational ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Earns State Duals Berth With 45-33 Win

The Notre Dame wrestling team is peaking at the right time. It's been an up and down season for the Fighting Irish and for the first time all year, they have a full lineup. And now they can start making plans for next weekend's State Duals in Franklin after beating East Ridge for the second time in three days. The Irish beat East Ridge by eight points on Thursday night ... (click for more)

McCurdy's Clutch 3 Leads Bears Past Blue Raiders, 65-62

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – First place in District 5-AAA was up for grabs Saturday when bitter rivals  Cleveland and Bradley Central – both boys and girls – squared off at Jim Smiddy Arena. The Bearettes seized it. The Bears scrambled atop the standings as well. Bradley Central, scoring eight points in the final 35.9 seconds, including Bradley McCurdy clutch 3-pointer, ... (click for more)