Chattanooga Touted as Economic Success Story

Chattanooga, with its low unemployment and increasing property values, is showcased as something of an economic turnaround story in today’s Wall Street Journal.

The city’s riverfront development, Internet connections that can reach speeds 200 times the U.S. average, and the attraction of employers Amazon and Volkswagen are touted as evidence the city has undergone a rebirth in the last 50 years.

The writer revisits the loss of manufacturing jobs in the ‘60s and brings the story forward through renewal and development in the subsequent three decades: “By the mid-1990s, the downtown boasted new museums, a theater and an aquarium. Next, city leaders turned to wooing businesses.”

That taxpayers and their pocketbooks continue to play a major role in the city’s growth is not lost in the praise, with criticism of “corporate welfare” on the one hand, a belief that such grants are indispensable on the other.

For now, the proponents are winning. All Tennesseans are chipping in. The state program called FastTrack used to entice Amazon and Volkswagen’s operations to Tennessee is poised to expand.