Isakson, Perdue, Carter Secure Funding Needed To Keep Savannah Harbor Deepening On Track
President Trump approves $85 million for Savannah Harbor Expansion Project
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA), and U.S. Representative Buddy Carter (R-GA-01), have secured much-needed funding to keep the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) on track this year.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today released its fiscal year 2018 work plan, which includes $35 million in additional funds for the critical project. The Trump administration announced last year that the project would receive $50.06 million in the president’s fiscal year 2018 budget request. The original request plus the funding increase in the Army Corps’ updated work plan brings the total fiscal year 2018 federal funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion project to roughly $85 million – enough to keep the economic development project on track.
“I thank President Trump, OMB Director Mulvaney and the Corps of Engineers for demonstrating their commitment to completing this project that is so critical to our economy,” said Senator Isakson. “The Port of Savannah is boasting record numbers each month. Ensuring the on-time completion of this project is a win for trade, a win for the economy and a win for the hundreds of thousands of jobs the Port of Savannah supports.”
“Finally, the Port of Savannah will receive long overdue investment from the federal government,” said Senator Perdue. “President Trump pledged to make infrastructure a priority, and again, we are seeing his Administration deliver on promises. The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project has the best return on investment of any Army Corps of Engineers project in the country at 7.3 to 1. As the fourth largest and fastest growing port in the United States, this project not only benefits Georgia, but also the entire Eastern half of the country. There is no doubt SHEP is Georgia’s top infrastructure project and will help our country compete globally.”
“I am thrilled that President Trump and OMB Director Mulvaney and the Corps of Engineers have shown that they realize the critical importance of this project by committing strong federal funding,” said Congressman Carter. “With a return on investment of 7.3 to 1, every step closer to completion is a step closer to realizing the full economic impact this project will have on the nation and the world. We will continue fighting for this federal support to keep the project moving forward and on time until it becomes a reality.”
The fiscal year 2018 government funding measure signed into law on March 23, 2018, included a $337 million increase over the president’s original budget request for construction of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigation projects, including the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.
A study by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business reported this year that Georgia’s ports support 439,220 full- and part-time jobs across the state.
The federal government must allot at least $80 - $100 million annually during the duration of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project to ensure it will be completed on time. Failure to do so will result in delays that could ultimately cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
In December 2017, the entire Georgia Congressional delegation called on the administration to include critical funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) in the president’s fiscal year 2019 budget request.
Following the president’s February 2018 budget request, Isakson, Perdue and Carter urged full funding for the project and invited President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to visit the Port of Savannah at the earliest opportunity for a tour to better understand its value to American business.
In March, the Georgia Ports Authority brought the first of four new neo-Panamax cranes on line and broke ground on its $126.7 million Mason Mega Rail Terminal. The expansion will increase the Port of Savannah’s rail lift capacity to 1 million containers per year and open new markets from Memphis, Tenn., to St. Louis, Mo., to Chicago, Ill., to Cincinnati, Ohio.
Dredging began to deepen the seaward half of the Savannah harbor, which extends 18.5 miles from Fort Pulaski into the Atlantic Ocean, in September 2015. A massive dredging effort began on Dec. 1, 2017, to complete the final phase of the outer channel deepening for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. Deepening of the outer harbor was completed on Feb. 27, 2018. The next step will be to award a contract for dredging of the inner harbor.
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