WRRDA Signed Today

The WRRDA was signed today. The Water Resources and Redevelopment Act contains a key provision to allocate federal funding to help deepen the Port of Savannah.

The WRRDA represents the culmination of more than a decade’s work by Rep. Jack Kingston (who sponsored the original legislation back in 1999), Gov. Nathan Deal (here and here), Mayor Kasim Reed (here and here), and Senator Johnny Isakson (here and here).

Each of these players has had their own role in this long and protracted dance to get the funding and approval necessary so Georgia can be a place where Panamax sized ships can unload their goods. Because of this cooperation and the ability of these leaders to work across the aisle to govern, Georgia as a whole is going to benefit.

Full press release after the fold:

Isakson, Chambliss Announce Savannah Harbor Expansion Project Clears Final Congressional Hurdle

Urge administration to act expeditiously in giving green light for Georgia to begin construction this year

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today announced a critical measure authorizing $706 million for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project has been signed into law, allowing the administration to keep its promise to Georgia to move forward on the project immediately.

“After more than a decade and a half of bureaucratic set-backs, and with the overwhelming, bipartisan support from local, state and federal officials, we are thrilled to announce the Savannah Harbor Expansion Harbor has cleared its final legislative hurdle and will soon become a reality for Georgia, for the Southeast, and for the entire nation. This project is crucial for our region and will support hundreds of thousands of jobs each year while generating billions in revenue for the entire Southeast.

“With today’s enactment of WRRDA, we have personally received confirmation from the administration that there is no longer any impediment to moving forward with the Savannah harbor project or to obtain federal funds down the road to support the project.  It is now imperative that the administration works expeditiously to finalize the Project Partnership Agreement with Georgia so construction can begin this year.”

H.R.3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, was signed into law earlier today following Senate passage on Thursday, May 22, 2014. The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project was originally authorized in the Water Resources and Development Act of 1999 to deepen the Savannah River from its current 42-foot depth to as much as 47 feet.

SHEP has a cost-benefit ratio of 5.5 to 1, an annual net benefit to the nation of $174 million and would support hundreds of thousands of jobs each year.

The project is being undertaken in anticipation of an expansion of the Panama Canal that will increase the maximum draft of vessels travelling to and from the East Coast from 39.5 feet to as much as 50 feet. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, it will bring more than $115 million in annual economic benefit to the United States, primarily through reducing costs associated with transportation.

More information on the Savannah Harbor Expansion project is available here.

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