Georgia > Obama Budget includes Funds for Savannah River Deepening

| February 4, 2015

Savannah Ports

SAVANNAH — The White House budget includes $21.05 million for the deepening of the Savannah River Harbor.  This, plus another $21 million provided by the US Army Corps of Engineers is proposed currently for the project.

Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, stated in a Monday teleconference, “That project is funded at $21 million in the ’16 budget and yes, we are committed to seeing this project through. It’s a very important project for future navigation. There’s also $21 million for it in the ’15 work budget.”

eugene-talmidge-bridgeThis pleases the Georgia Ports Authority, who have their target amount of $42 million now proposed from the Federal Government.  That, plus the $260 million the State of Georgia has set aside, means almost $300 million will now be available in the first year the project’s construction.

The mood in Savannah is a contrast to last year, when the Authority learned Obama’s budget only included $1.52 million for harbor expansion.

All told, the project, which will deepen the shipping channel five feet to 47 feet, will allow larger ships to use the Savannah port without the need to time the tides or limit their loads.  This also ties in with expansion ongoing at the Panama Canal, where ships from the Far East travel headed for East Coast ports, like Savannah, the nation’s fourth busiest.

This all comes at a price tag of about $706 million.  However, lawmakers know this project helps the state’s largest economic engine, the Port of Savannah.  Delays of almost 17 years have the project well behind what state officials state they needed, but are still glad the project is moving again.

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