Thu., May 10, 2012 12:57pm (EDT)

Charleston Mayor Speaks In Savannah
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 2 years ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
Joseph Riley has been mayor of Charleston since 1975.  He spoke to business leaders in Savannah, the city's historic rival in shipping and tourism.  While he said that he opposes Savannah's top economic priority, he offered words of encouragement and advice on another.  (photo City of Charleston)
Joseph Riley has been mayor of Charleston since 1975. He spoke to business leaders in Savannah, the city's historic rival in shipping and tourism. While he said that he opposes Savannah's top economic priority, he offered words of encouragement and advice on another. (photo City of Charleston)
The mayor of Charleston, S.C. says, his city is a regional partner with Savannah, not its rival.

But Mayor Joseph Riley also told members of the Savannah business community that he opposes their top concern.

Savannah leaders have been pushing federal officials for a deeper harbor for more than a decade.

South Carolina recently has sought to kill the project with arguments that it will harm the shared Savannah River.

But Georgians suspect the aim really is shielding the Port of Charleston from competition.

Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley told members of Savannah's Downtown Business Association, he trusts the environmental groups.

"I do feel that there are and I've talked to people who have legitimate environmental concerns about the river here," Riley says. "So, I think it is honest."

The Charleston mayor says, the two cities have much to share about tourism and city planning.

He encourages Savannah's moves toward a cruise ship terminal.