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."

 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BERHE, HURUY M     7010 OOLTEWAH GEORGETOWN RD OOLTEWAH, 37363     20     Collegedale          Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) BLACKMON, COREY SYDNEY     1709 WILSON STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37406    ... (click for more)

Corker Welcomes Action On Adoption Of Congolese Children

Senator Bob Corker on Friday said he welcomed passage of S. Res. 502, a Senate resolution concerning the suspension of exit permit issuance by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for adopted Congolese children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents.  “I’ve had the opportunity to hear first-hand the stories of many Tennessee families who are stuck in ... (click for more)

A Tennessee Transplant's Thoughts On Age And Politics - And Response

I have read several opinions favoring the job performance of Representative Fleischmann as well the apparent disdain that they have for his challenger and his age.  I must disclose that unfortunately, I am unable to cast a vote in the 3rd District Republican primary.  I will however always be a Chattanoogan.  As a result, I feel more engaged in East Tennessee politics ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mr. Trump, Stand Down!

I’ve never been a big fan of Donald Trump. Of his worldy possessions, I believe the only things bigger than his $4 billion bank account are his arrogance and his ego but what he did Friday was shameful. Here we have two Americans in Africa on a mercy mission who have been stricken with the ebola virus and as emergency efforts are in progress to bring them home, Trump -- in his usual ... (click for more)

Live Viewing Party Of The National Championship Offered At First Tennessee Pavilion

Chattanooga Football Club fans will get one more chance to gather and cheer on the team as it battles for the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) National Championship powered by Mitre.  On Saturday, from 7-11:30 p.m. at the First Tennessee Pavilion, Big River Brewing Company, Volkswagen Chattanooga, Memorial, Finley Stadium, and EPB Fiber Optics are hosting ... (click for more)

Larry Fleming: Phil Schmidt Made Life Better For Those That Knew Him

The sad news came Thursday morning in a phone call from Jill Bowling, the daughter of Phil Schmidt, longtime photographer at The Chattanooga Times – for years he served as chief of the department – had passed away minutes earlier at TriStar-Centennial Hospital in Nashville. Through Jill’s tears she said, “Daddy died this morning.” It was a phone call I didn’t want to get and ... (click for more)