Officials approve further funding for Savannah deepening project

  • State approves Gov. Deal’s request for additional US$50 million in SHEP funding

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) has announced that the further US$50 million requested by Governor Nathan Deal towards the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) has been approved by the state legislature and is now awaiting his signature.

Along with previous funding, the state of Georgia has now allocated a total of $231.1 million towards the project.

Deepening the Savannah Harbor from 42 to 47 feet will help to accommodate an influx of super-sized container vessels transiting the Panama Canal after its 2015 expansion.

“This infrastructure investment is crucial not just for the port, but for the economy of Georgia and the entire Southeast,” said Deal.

“A deeper Savannah Harbor means greater efficiency for 21,000 US companies, 75 percent of which are headquartered outside of Georgia.”

“A US Army Corps of Engineers study has shown that SHEP will reduce shipping costs for private companies by at least $213 million a year,” added Deal.

The new funding was part of Gov. Deal’s FY2014 budget request, and was included in the final version of the state spending plan passed by the General Assembly on Thursday.

“The strong actions by the General Assembly and the governor indicate the level of commitment across the state to see the harbor deepening completed,” said GPA Board Chairman Robert Jepson. “We appreciate the broad support among state leaders for our deepwater ports, which serve as economic engines supporting 352,000 jobs across Georgia.”

Overall, the cost of the project is anticipated to be $652 million. The Record of Decision, signifying final federal approval for the project, was issued in October 2012, clearing an important hurdle toward federal construction dollars.

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