USA: Great News for Savannah Harbor Expansion Project
The U.S. House passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which authorizes the development and maintenance of the nation’s waterway infrastructure, among other critical projects.
The legislation includes a key provision that authorizes the funding necessary for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project to move forward. This provision will end a 14 year delay of the project to deepen the harbor from 42 to 47 feet in order to accommodate new supertankers that will soon be coming from the Panama Canal. The expansion of the harbor will ensure it remains a vital piece of the national infrastructure and have a major economic impact on Georgia and the nation.
All 14 House members of the Georgia Congressional delegation voted for WRRDA, and both of Georgia’s senators voted for the senate version of the bill earlier this year. The following delegation members issued statements applauding the House bill’s authorization of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project:
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), “I am pleased the House passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act with bipartisan support from the entire Georgia delegation. The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is critically important to our state and local economies, and this bill provides the authorization needed to complete such an important project. I look forward to a deepened harbor and our future export capabilities.”
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), “The House’s passage of the Water Resource Reform and Development Act that included a critical authorization for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is a great victory for the United States and the state of Georgia. I applaud Chairman Shuster and the House for its support and for recognizing the huge economic impact of this project, which will bring $174 million in annual net benefits to the United States and create 11,554 jobs. I remain committed to seeing this project through to the very end.”
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1), “Georgia’s deep water ports support 352,000 jobs in our state and service more than 21,000 companies throughout the country. Passage of this bill is a critical step toward ensuring this economic engine can continue its vital role in our regional and national economy. Deepening the harbor will free up $213 million in private capital each year that can be invested in job creation and business expansion. For every dollar invested in the project, there is a $5.50 return. Let’s get this bill signed into law and this important project underway.”
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA-2), “In addition to improving access to critical waterways, this bill will create jobs and boost our economy by opening access to vital infrastructure projects across the country. The Savannah Port will be a major driver of economic development throughout the entire state. Dredging of the Savannah River is long overdue, and once this bill is enacted into law, larger cargo ships will be one step closer to traveling and trading through our world-class port.”
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA-6), “The passage of this water resources and infrastructure bill is a victory for Georgia families. It will help strengthen our local economy, save taxpayer dollars and eliminate wasteful government red tape. Appropriately, it avoids contributing to any efforts that would deny Georgia access to vital resources and harm our state’s economy. Moreover, this legislation will help our state and local leaders better plan and take concrete steps towards preparing the Port of Savannah to be able to accept the larger cargo ships of the future, a key component to helping grow our economy and create jobs. At a time when the government spends too much and gets too little in return, WRRDA contains no earmarks, mandates crucial Congressional oversight and provides for the deauthorization of existing programs to offset any new authorizations. This is an economically critical reform and infrastructure bill.”
Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA-7), “Certainly, today’s bill is not perfect, but it absolutely moves us in the right direction for water infrastructure planning. The bill is critical to Georgia because it both clears the final hurdles for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project—arguably the largest economic development and job creation initiative in the State–and by rebuffing attempts by Alabama and Florida to use the bill to hijack the water in Lake Lanier. Both of these successes mean more job growth in the 7th district of Georgia and that’s good news. Moreover, the bill reduces federal bureaucratic red tape and returns decision making power to states. These steps reduce time necessary to get a federal construction permit in many cases by more than a decade. With the addition of provisions guaranteeing strong Congressional oversight of the Administration’s activities, this bill is a win for taxpayers and a catalyst for long-term economic growth.”
Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA-8), “This legislation is great news for our state, where Savannah’s port plays a crucial role in our agriculture and manufacturing industries and is a driving force of our local economies. Improving and strengthening our ports and waterways will create jobs and guarantee America remains a competitive player in the global economy.”
Press Release, October 29, 2013