Obama snubs Chickamauga Lock in Chattanooga speech

Obama snubs Chickamauga Lock in Chattanooga speech

July 30th, 2013 by Ellis Smith in Local - Breaking News

Work on the Chickamauga Lock is stagnant in this February 27 view below the Chickamauga Dam.

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

President Barack Obama's renewed focus on jobs and infrastructure spending apparently won't include work in the Chickamauga

Lock, which he failed to mention in his speech today in Chattanooga.

As part of the president's "fix-it-first" plan, Obama named the port in Jacksonville, Fla., and the U.S. 27 road widening project in Chattanooga as two "vital projects our businesses need." He mentioned repair work on the St. Louis Arch as one among a list of "projects vital to our national pride," and called out the nation's air traffic control system as in need of repair as well.

But the 73-year-old Chickamauga Lock, which has seen its funding slashed in the last two federal budgets, was not among the bullet points in the president's speech today.

Workers were attempting to replace the lock, which has experienced concrete growth and other forms of deterioration, until its source of funds ran out several years ago. Currently, much of the repair money for the lock is being sent to an unfinished Ohio River project that has been given a higherh priority by federal officials.

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, who has blasted Obama for policies he sees as unfriendly to business, said he would remain in the "believe it when I see it" category when it comes to the president's promises to improve infrastructure and create jobs.

"In his past two budgets, the President has completely cut all funding to the Chickamauga Lock and his overly burdensome policies have continued to impede actual job growth," Fleischmann said.

Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.