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Monday, November 5, 2012 - 2:00am

Deepening Gets Okay, But No Money Yet

Updated: 2 years ago.
A decision last week giving the final approval to Georgia's long-awaited harbor expansion came without funding. The project would deepen the harbor to serve large ships. Environmental groups are seeking to block it in court. (photo: U.S. House of Representatives)

Savannah Republican Jack Kingston says the chances of Congress funding Georgia's long-awaited harbor deepening project are 50-50.

A U.S. Army decision last week approving the project came without Congressional dollars.

Georgia waited for the decision for 14 years.

It means the Corps of Engineers now has authority to deepen Savannah's harbor to make it ready for larger ships.

But Congressman Kingston says he isn't sure he can convince his colleague the project merits a half-billion dollars.

"Now that so much time has passed since the original bill was approved back in 1999, now we really have to start all over again," says Kingston. "In this budget environment it is going to be very difficult."

Governor Nathan Deal says Georgia might have to fund the project alone.

"Obviously the safer route would be for us to have federal appropriations in hand," says Deal. "But it is such an important project that any time we can shave off the completion time frame is important."

Environmental groups aiming to stop the project are taking no solace in the funding uncertainty.

They're still challenging the deepening in court.

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