Gov. Nathan Deal says he's willing to spend state money upfront to start deepening Savannah's busy shipping channel as long as the federal government promises to pay its share of the $652 million project later.
Deal told reporters Tuesday during a stop in Savannah the state has $231 million set aside for the Savannah harbor expansion and "we're ready to spend it."
Savannah and other east coast seaports are racing to deepen their harbors to make room for giant cargo ships expected to arrive via an expanded Panama Canal in 2015. The federal government has approved the Savannah project, but funding from Washington remains extremely tight.
And Deal cautioned that in addition to funding issues, the Savannah harbor still has a couple of bureaucratic hurdles to clear before construction starts.