Eighty years after it was birthed by the federal government as a part of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, the Tennessee Valley Authority might be better off severed from Uncle Sam, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said Wednesday.

Corker said he isn't pushing to sell TVA to try to cut the federal debt, as President Obama proposed last month in his fiscal 2014 budget plan. With nearly $25 billion in debt, TVA probably wouldn't fetch enough from buyers to pay what it owes, Corker said.

But new approaches for TVA, including converting the agency to a nonprofit corporation or transferring ownership to TVA distributors and customers, might help improve the utility, Corker said.

"I've not been comfortable with the federal government involvement with TVA and thinking that is going to lead TVA to a great place," Corker told the Times Free Press in a telephone interview Wednesday. "I worry that over time the fact that TVA is controlled by the federal government but in a laissez-fair manner could leave it less and less as an identity to drive economic growth in our state."

Read more from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.