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."

 


Man Injured In Drive-By Shooting On Judson Lane

A man was injured Monday night in a drive-by shooting on Judson Lane. At approximately 6:36 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to the report of shots fired near the 2500 block of Judson Lane. During that investigation a person suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound to the right forearm arrived at a local hospital. ·          ... (click for more)

Collegedale Among Cities Fighting Coppinger Plan For Sharing Sales Tax

Collegedale officials said Monday they oppose an effort by County Mayor Jim Coppinger for the county to get a share of sales taxes with the municipalities. Mayor Katie Lamb said she attended a recent municipal meeting about shared sales taxes with the state of Tennessee. Of the 7 percent state sales tax collected by the state, 4.6 percent of 6 percent of the total is given ... (click for more)

Why Is The City Diverting Federal Transportation Funds From Real Need?

The city of Chattanooga and CBL, owner of Hamilton Place Mall, would have the mass of taxpayers believe that improving mall access from the interstate is not impacting us financially.   Namely, CBL has committed to fund the city’s match of $8 million, so they will receive $32 million in Federal Transportation Funds that are allocated annually to local jurisdictions through ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Hero Is Coming Home

In late September, a very special funeral will be held in Bearden, Tenn., when 1 st Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman Jr., will finally come home to lie in peace with his family. Sandy’s been dead for 72 years now, ever since he was killed in combat on the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands on Nov. 22, 1943. He and a number of other Marine heroes were buried back then in a shallow ... (click for more)

NPSL Championship To Be Played In Chattanooga

It's Chattanooga FC taking on the New York Cosmos B for the National Premier Soccer League’s national championship and the Scenic City's Finley Stadium is the site Saturday, August 8 at 7:30 p.m. Thanks to a 9,000 plus crowd at Chattanooga's 3-0 semifinal win against the Indiana Fire, the Tennessee team broke the league’s previous record of 8,878, which was ... (click for more)

Jones Press Conference Kicks Off Vols' Preseason

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Coach Butch Jones held his preseason football press conference on Monday at Neyland Stadium. Jones heads into his third season with visible enthusiasm after the Vols finished off the 2014 season with an impressive win over Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl, following that up with another nationally ranked recruiting class. "In terms of our football team, we ... (click for more)