Sen. Alexander talks parks and tariffs in Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – China has now responded to the tariffs imposed by President Trump, by doing the same on a range of U.S. goods.

The President’s tariffs on steel and aluminum drew criticism today from Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, who was in Chattanooga this morning.

Senator Lamar Alexander was here to talk about maintaining federal parks in the tri-state area, but concerns over other issues like the impact of tariffs on state industry soon became the hot topic.

“I would hope to change the president’s mind on tariffs. Tariffs are not good for Tennessee. A tariff on steel and aluminum, will make it harder for us to compete in the world marketplace and we’ll lose jobs.”

Alexander’s point about the impact of a possible trade war, is shared by other legislators in Washington and by investors.

Wall street continues to be uneasy about them.

Tennessee has a lot at stake because it’s uniquely invested in the auto industry.

The Senator told us “We have 900 auto suppliers, in the country, they use, in our state, they use steel and aluminum to make auto parts. If the prices for the steel and aluminum go up, then those companies will create jobs overseas to make those auto parts.”

Alexander cited one industry that changed plans. Electrolux in Springfield, Tennessee had planned a 250 million dollar expansion, that they’ve subsequently put on hold since the Trump tariff’s were proposed.

Speaking at Point Park on the national parks maintenance issue…Alexander proposes a unique solution. He’s co-sponsoring a bill that would use royalties generated from oil, gas, wind and solar energy production on Federal lands to fund the maintenance backlog for all 417 National Parks around the country.

Sen. Alexander said “so we’re talking about, uh, the visitor’s center, the walking areas, clearing out views, like this is very important I’m excited to do it and I hope that we can pass the legislation this year.”

Chief Ranger Todd Roeder of the Chattanooga/ Chickamauga National parks says that there are more than 81 miles of trails to maintain along with buildings and parking lots in just the local parks.

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