Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Noog Uber Alles

The news of Volkswagen's selection of Tennessee for assembly of its new midsize vehicle is stunning, possibly epochal -- even though Middle Tennessee's economic benefit, if any, may be years away. Locally, in nearby Montgomery County, Clarksville Industrial Development Board Executive Director Mike Evans was diplomatic this morning when contacted by VNC. His megasite was barely in-the-running against Chattanooga, Alabama and Michigan. Still, while declining any comment on efforts Clarksville might have made with regard to VW, Evans offered congratulations to the state and Chattanooga, and said the news demonstrates the "validity of the TVA megasite [certification] program." He also stressed that "regionalism" is the proper context in which to view Chattanooga's win. Indeed, some reports suggest that in addition to the 2,000 jobs created in Chattanooga, another 10,000 could be spawned in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. The win announced yesterday should also provide fresh impetus -- as though it needed any -- to the Tennessee Valley Corridor initiative, which seeks to improve jobs, skills and quality of life in the zone from Knoxville-Oak Ridge...through Tullhoma, Murfreesboro and Chattanooga, to Huntsville. The TVC effort includes, by the way, most East Tennessee members of Congress, but currently excludes U.S. Reps. Bart Gordon of Murfreesboro, who chairs the House science committee. Periodically, there has been talk within TVC of correcting what some see as an "oversight," a gap that in some ways leaves Nashville standing outside the TVC tent. As previously reported here, Rutherford County leaders have during the past two years sought to hitch that county's prospects more closely to the corridor. Earlier, related item here.

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