Savannah’s delegation to the United States Congress applauded the announcement that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will direct an additional $2.5 million toward the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. The funding, which will go directly toward project construction, comes from a general fund provided by Congress for the Corps’ ongoing work and is in addition to nearly $600,000 already budgeted for the project this year.
“This announcement underscores the importance placed on this project by the Corps and the recognition of its national significance,” said Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA). “That this funding comes in construction, rather than planning, will be a real boost to expediting this project once it receives the final green light. We remain united as a delegation to seeing this project through to completion and ensuring the federal government steps up to the plate. SHEP is about more than deepening the harbor in Savannah, it is about preparing our region and our country for the economy of the future.”
“While this is less than the amount I had hoped for, an additional $2.5 million for SHEP construction will certainly help to advance the project, and it proves the Corps recognizes this project’s significance,” said Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). “This is real money that can be put to use immediately on preliminary construction aspects of SHEP. As we now turn our focus to the next fiscal year, I am hopeful the President’s FY13 budget request which will be released Monday will include significant construction funding for SHEP.”
“This announcement of additional funding is a great victory for Savannah, for Georgia and for the entire Southeastern economy,” said Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA). “The Georgia congressional delegation, Governor Deal and Atlanta Mayor Reed will continue to work relentlessly with the Georgia Ports Authority and with the Administration to see this critical project through to the end because it will create jobs and have a huge impact on the both the state and national economy.”
“I’m happy to see any construction funding for SHEP because we’ve got to get the Savannah Port deepened,” said Congressman John Barrow (D-GA). “Deepening this port has been one of my top priorities because it’s vital for long term job growth in Georgia. I’m happy to see any additional funding for this project, and I’ll continue to work with every member of Georgia’s delegation to see that we complete this project.”
The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project was authorized in the Water Resources and Development Act of 1999 to deepen the Savannah River from its current 42 foot depth to as much as 48 feet. The project is being undertaken in anticipation of an expansion of the Panama Canal that will increase the maximum draft of vessels travelling to and from the East Coast from 39.5 feet to as much as 50 feet.
According to the Corps of Engineers, it will bring more than $115 million in annual economic benefit to the United States, primarily through reducing costs associated with transportation.
Dredging Today Staff, February 15, 2012; Image: usace