Hope for Port of Savannah

Today the House of Representatives passed the conference committee report for the WRRDA aka the Water Resources Reform and Development Act. In this $12 billion bill is authorization of money to be spent on deepening the Port of Savannah. The final vote tally was 412-4 so the House really wants this to pass.

All that’s left is the Senate and the President. Given that it is a conference committee, I would expect similar results in the Senate. Should that happen, I would also expect a no brainer for the President to sign the darn thing. Even though the White House originally did not have any funding allocated for the deepening of the port.

One step closer for this seemingly endless process to come to an end.

Press statements (in no particular order) after the jump.

Georgia Chamber Welcomes House Passage of WRRDA

Legislation includes critical funding for Savannah Harbor deepening

Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).  The bill includes federal funding for one of Georgia’s top economic development projects, the Savannah Port Expansion Project, which will deepen the harbor by five feet and provide increased accessibility and capacity for the nation’s fastest growing port.

The State of Georgia has already approved $231 million for its share of the project’s funding.  Once the project’s federal funding is approved, the Harbor deepening will begin the construction phase.

“The Georgia Chamber thanks members of the WRRDA House-Senate conference committee for ensuring that funding for the Savannah Harbor deepening remained in the bill and members of the House for passing this important legislation,” said Georgia Chamber president and CEO Chris Clark.  “Deepening the Port of Savannah is one of the most critical economic development opportunities in our state’s history.  We appreciate the Georgia Congressional delegation’s unwavering commitment to this project and we look forward to Senate passage of WRRDA so the deepening can finally move forward.”

Every member of Georgia’s House delegation voted in support of WRRDA today.  The Senate is expected to consider WRRDA later this week.

Price Applauds Passage of WRRDA

Legislation “critically important to our local economy in Georgia.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06) applauded the passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA), saying:

“While the Water Resources Reform and Development Act certainly affects our entire country’s waterways and infrastructure, it is critically important to our local economy in Georgia. Its successful passage will help advance the necessary expansion of the Savannah Harbor, a key to promoting our state’s commerce. This means more opportunities for growth and good-paying jobs in our communities.

“Both Republicans and Democrats worked together to achieve real results for the American people with legislation that will foster greater prosperity and jobs during a time when our nation desperately needs both.”

Congressman Tom Price, M.D., is the vice chairman of the House Committee on the Budget. He is also a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, as well as the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. An orthopaedic surgeon, he spent more than 20 years caring for patients in the metro Atlanta area.

Rep. Graves Votes For Savannah Harbor Expansion Project
Deal Between House And Senate Passes, Bill Will Soon Go To President

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) voted for the Water Resources Reform and Development Act conference report, which included the authorization of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). While the House previously passed a version of the bill, the conference report that passed today is the final agreement between the House and Senate, which will now go to the Senate for a final vote, and then to the president to be signed into law.

“We are now very close to ending the long delay on one of the most important projects in the country,” said Rep. Graves. “For thousands of Georgia families, the Savannah Harbor project simply means jobs. If the Obama Administration keeps its word and allows the state to move forward with the project, supertankers will soon arrive at the harbor full of goods, and Georgia businesses will make sure they leave full.”

The authorization for SHEP will allow the deepening of the harbor from 42 to 47 feet in order to accommodate new supertankers that will soon be coming from the Panama Canal. The project is estimated to create over 11,000 jobs and support over 350,000 existing jobs throughout Georgia. According to the Georgia Ports Authority, nearly 19,000 jobs in the 14th District are tied to Georgia’s ports, including 5,523 in Whitfield County, 3,360 in Floyd County, 1,823 in Paulding County, 1,803 in Gordon County, 1,337 in Catoosa County and 1,210 in Walker County.

“Taken as a whole, this water resources bill is a win for taxpayers. The bill has zero earmarks, puts a stop to wasteful spending, and costs 47 percent less than the last water bill,” said Rep. Graves.

This year’s water resources bill will cost $12.3 billion over ten years, while the 2007 version cost $23 billion.

In November, Rep. Graves wrote an op-ed for the Atlanta Business Chronicle about the taxpayer-friendly reforms in the bill. Click here to read the full article.


Water Bill, SHEP, in Final Stages of Becoming Law

WASHINGTON, [May 20] – Georgia’s economic future got brighter today as the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) took one of its final steps to becoming law.  Congressman Doug Collins (GA-09) voted in favor of the WRRDA conference report, or the bill’s final form, which de-authorizes $18 billion for inactive, unproductive projects and moves forward with the vital Savannah Harbor Extension Project (SHEP).

Georgia has waited for too long for SHEP to get moving.  Congress has a constitutional responsibility to provide for our infrastructure, and since my time in the state legislature we in Georgia have invested in SHEP and waited for the federal government to meet its obligations.  Today’s passage of WRRDA puts Georgia in a great place to grow.”

Collins added, “Any piece of legislation aimed at reform has room for improvement, and with Congress’s oversight responsibility, we’re going to keep an eye on the potential for any future waste while we show the rest of the country how Georgia can do business.”

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 fully offsets authorizations with deauthorizations, contains absolutely no earmarks, and includes provisions to prevent future project backlogs such as the delay at Savannah Harbor.

For more on WRRDA, click here.

Barrow Statement on Passage of WRRDA

Legislation “green lights” deepening of the Savannah Harbor

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) released the following statement regarding passage of the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) conference report, legislation that finally and fully authorizes the deepening of the channel at the Port of Savannah.  The House of Representatives approved the measure by a vote of 412-4.

“Passage of this legislation is a huge step toward deepening the Savannah Harbor, one of the largest infrastructure projects we are undertaking here in Georgia,” said Congressman Barrow.  “Deepening the Savannah Harbor will support more than 350,000 jobs all across our state, including all 19 counties of the 12th District that I represent.  Our entire delegation has worked together for years to get this project under way, and today, with any luck, we’ve cleared the final hurdle. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this project will have on Georgia, and I’m eager for us to begin this work.”

Johnny Isakson addresses the Senate and urges passage of WRRDA there.