Headrick Backs Barge Fuel Tax Increase; Fleischman Doesn’t

Democratic congressional candidate Dr. Mary Headrick says she would support a barge fuel tax increase to finance repair and construction at Chickamauga lock, reports the Chattanooga Times-Free Press.
“The Chickamauga lock should be replaced,” she said in a statement. “Until replaced, it should be repaired and remain in operation. … I favor increasing the marine diesel fuel per gallon tax, as favored by barge operators.”
In doing so, the Maynardville, Tenn., Democrat and acute care physician defied her opponent, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, who has rejected a barge tax increase from 20 cents to 29 cents per gallon of diesel fuel. But the freshman Republican has opposed tax increases of any kind, partially owing to a political pledge he signed.
Fleischmann’s opposition has also put him at odds with members of the barge industry who have expressed a willingness to pay more taxes if it translates to consistent maintenance and quicker replacement.
Funding has dried up on both fronts, and the lock continues to deteriorate as a chemical reaction weakens its bulky concrete frame. The structure allows barges to move through TVA’s dam system toward 318 miles of upstream Tennessee River water.

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