U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today announced they are seeking $105 million in federal funds to continue the deepening of the Savannah Harbor in Savannah, Ga., to ensure that the country’s fastest growing container port is able to accommodate larger cargo carriers.
Both Isakson and Chambliss submitted requests to the Senate Appropriations Committee to include the funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project in the fiscal year 2011 Energy and Water Appropriations bill.
“The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is critical to our state’s economic future,” Isakson said. “The Port of Savannah must maintain its position as a gateway for business to Georgia, and we will work to ensure the Georgia Ports Authority has the necessary funding for this harbor deepening.”
“The Savannah harbor must be deepened to keep up with the expansion of the Panama Canal,” Chambliss said. “This project will provide tremendous benefit to Georgia, the Southeast and our nation as a whole.”
The Panama Canal, through which many cargo ships pass when traveling to and from the East Coast, is scheduled to be widened by 2014 and will accommodate larger cargo ships that require deeper waters. The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project was authorized in the Water Resources and Development Act of 1999 and will deepen the channel from 42 to 48 feet in order to accommodate larger cargo carriers and attract new business.
The Port of Savannah is the fastest growing container port in the United States as well as the second largest container port on the East Coast and the fourth largest container port in the nation. Currently, Georgia maritime activities support more than 286,000 jobs in the state and contribute some $10.8 billion in income, $35.4 billion in revenue and $1.4 billion in state and local taxes each year.
More than 20,975 companies throughout all 50 states utilize the Georgia Ports Authority facilities in Savannah, and both the state of Georgia and private companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in land-side facilities to increase efficiency.
“I wholeheartedly support Senators Chambliss and Isakson in their request. Savannah’s port is an economic engine and these funds are vital to ensuring its vibrant future,” said U.S. Representative Jack Kingston, R-Ga. “With the port’s continued success will come more jobs and more growth for our state and our nation.”