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Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 1:48pm

Deal To Release 2013 Budget

Gov. Nathan Deal will release his 2013 budget proposal Wednesday, and the spending plan will include money for the Savannah Harbor Deepening project and new reservoirs.

Gov. Deal will propose investing $45 million to expand the state’s water supply by building new reservoirs and drilling wells.

In a speech to business and legislative leaders in Atlanta, Deal said Georgia’s ongoing battle with other states over Lake Lanier makes water a top issue.

“It is imperative that we expand water supply across our state," he said. "Let me re-state my priority: we must create new reservoirs to address Georgia’s long-term water needs.”

Deal also wants to sell $46 million in bonds for the Savannah Harbor Deepening project. That's how much Georgia ports officials asked for. The money would go to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to continue their work on the harbor expansion.

Expanding the harbor will allow it to accommodate larger ships coming from the Panama Canal in 2014. In a speech to business and legislative leaders in Atlanta, Deal said Georgia won’t be the project’s only beneficiary.

“It is not a stretch to say that deepening this waterway is a project of national importance," he said in his speech. "A deeper Savannah Harbor means greater efficiency for 21,000 United States companies, 75 of which are headquartered outside of Georgia.”

State leaders are expecting the federal government to pay for the majority of the project.

Under the state constitution, the legislature is required to pass a balanced budget each year.

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