Savannah Morning News

$130M Proposed to Deepen Savannah Harbor in Fiscal 2020

Savannah and other East Coast ports are racing to deepen their harbors to make room for larger cargo ships already arriving through an expanded Panama Canal.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — President Donald Trump has asked Congress for an additional $130 million to continue deepening the shipping channel to Savannah's busy seaport.

Trump's budget request for fiscal 2020 would be the federal government's largest annual expenditure yet on the $976 million Savannah harbor expansion. The figure was contained in the Army Corps of Engineers' detailed civil works budget Tuesday, the day after the White House released Trump's broader $4.7 trillion proposed budget.

"That is wonderful, wonderful news," said Rep. Buddy Carter, the Georgia Republican whose district includes Savannah. "We're halfway through, but that does us no good. We need to be completely through before we see the benefits. I think the administration has finally caught on to that."

Dredging along 40 miles (64 kilometers) of the Savannah River between the port and the Atlantic Ocean began more than three years ago and reached the halfway mark last year. The Georgia Ports Authority and the state's congressional delegation have stressed they need roughly $100 million each year to complete the project without delays.

The federal government contributed $101 million for the 2019 fiscal year that began Oct. 1 and chipped in $85 million the previous year. Federal funding in prior years failed to come close, and the Army Corps relied on roughly $300 million from Georgia taxpayers to keep the project on schedule.

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