Putting a new bridge across the Tennessee River in North Hamilton County will require the state to break its longtime “pay as you go” habit, state Transportation Commissioner John Schroer told Chattanooga area leaders Wednesday.
Further from the Chattanooga TFP:
With a tight squeeze on road money, the state would have to enter “uncharted territory,” selling bonds or partnering with private investors to build the bridge and connector roads and repaying them with toll revenues, he said.
“If tolling is not an option, this bridge probably won’t be built — I won’t say forever, but for a long, long time,” Schroer said during a briefing for the county’s toll committee.
However, if the state does make the leap, a toll of $3 for cars and $4.50 for two-axle trucks would raise enough to build and operate the bridge for 40 years and repay the debt, a consultant told members of the Hamilton County Commission-appointed toll committee.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey told about 60 business leaders at Kingsport Thursday to look for future unemployment compensation system changes favoring employers, reports Hank Hayes.
Ramsey, during his “Red Tape Road Trip” luncheon highlighting government’s negative effect on business, said he’s been getting an earful from employers about people opting for an unemployment check rather than seeking a job when the state’s jobless rate remains well above 9 percent.
He cited a trucking company that wants but can’t find drivers and a heating and cooling firm with unfilled technician positions.
“When does it become a benefit and when does it become a lifestyle?” Ramsey, R-Blountville, asked of the current unemployment compensation system.
Weekly unemployment pay averages $285 a week, and beneficiaries aren’t pressed hard enough to look for work, Ramsey said.
About 400,000 workers file initial and partial unemployment claims annually while approximately 114,000 employers pay premiums for unemployment insurance, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Ramsey’s special assistant, Jordan Young, found about two-thirds of state unemployment claims are rejected in favor of the employer upon appeal.
“There are jobs out there. … It may not be the job you want, but there are jobs out there,” Ramsey said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, via news release, is calling for an FBI investigation into a road rage incident in Murfreesboro Tuesday evening. It’s over an incident described by WSMV-TV thusly:
Converted Muslim Lisa Sallaj, 43, of Murfreesboro said, she hasn’t slept a wink since the road rage incident.
“I’ve been sick to my stomach. I’ve been shaking, nervous, lying in bed tossing and turning,” Sallaj said.
It all started on Medical Center Parkway near Interstate 24 in Murfreesboro around 8:30 p.m.
“He had just received his driver’s license. I was in the car with him,” the mother said.
Sallaj’s 18-year-old son was in a left turn lane, but needed to go straight. When the traffic light changed to green he pulled out right in front of a black Mustang.
“The guy went ballistic,” said Sallaj. “He went nuts.”
It got much worse.
“He started yelling and cussing saying you (expletive) need to learn how to drive,” said Lisa Sallaj. “Then I look over and he has a knife out shaking at me saying, ‘I’ll kill you.'”
Sallaj told her son to pull over so she can get the tag number. She started driving, but ended up right next to the black Mustang at a traffic light where the driver revved up his engine.
She said, he then started using anti-Islamic slurs.
Sallaj said, “He started saying ‘la, la, la, la, la, la, la,’ and making like racial slurs.”
The mother said, she really got scare when the man began yelling at her son.
“He said he would put a red bullet dot in the center of his eyes,” said Sallaj.
The CAIR news release is below.