Fri., April 22, 2011 3:07pm (EDT)

Deal Hints At State Paying Port Project
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 3 years ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
Georgia wants the federal government to pay for a large chunk of the Savannah port expansion project but Washington hasn't been too quick at sending it.  Now, state officials say, it might be time to consider financing it within Georgia.  (photo Georgia Ports Authority)
Georgia wants the federal government to pay for a large chunk of the Savannah port expansion project but Washington hasn't been too quick at sending it. Now, state officials say, it might be time to consider financing it within Georgia. (photo Georgia Ports Authority)
Governor Nathan Deal says, Georgia should be ready to ante up if the federal government doesn't come through on funds for the Savannah harbor deepening project.

Deal's comments came this week at a meeting of reporters.

The Governor told members of the Atlanta Press Club he's hopeful but realistic when it comes to federal financing of the half-billion-dollar port expansion.

Budget-cutting and anti-earmark pledges leave the state with little room -- either wait for Washington to find the money or pay for the project within Georgia.

Deal says, the state should be ready.

"I'm not going to place any bets on whether or not we get it," Deal says. "And we have to be prepared in the alternative to do whatever the state has to do in the event that federal funding does not come forward."

State officials wanted $105 million for the project in the upcoming federal budget but didn't get it.

Georgia's already spent $125 million on it.

Officials consider the project key for economic development.