The federal government shutdown isn't affecting workers preparing for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. The $652 million port deepening is overseen by the US Army Corps of Engineers. A spokesman says the project might be affected if the shutdown continues for a long period of time.
The President's budget proposes $1.2 million for Savannah harbor expansion. That's a small fraction of the project's $650 million total cost and the $100 million that state officials were expecting in the budget documents presented Wednesday. States are racing to deepen their harbors for bigger ships.
PolitiFact is giving Governor Nathan Deal a "half truth" rating for saying Savannah harbor deepening will create jobs. Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed are in Washington Friday seeking federal funds for the expansion. The Governor says, deepening the river is a job-creating project.
An official with the US Army Corp of Engineers says, it now will be at least 2016 before the Savannah harbor deepening can be completed. And the Corp's Savannah District Commander, Colonel Jeff Hall says, that's "if" final approval and funding come next year. A Corp of Engineers spokesman says, the agency's process is moving along at the appropriate speed.
US Army Corp of Engineers officials plan to release more information about how deepening the Savannah harbor will effect the city's drinking water. The Corp is revising a report on the project's evironmental effects. Savannah's top officials are pushing the project hard while the city's water manager airs concerns about saltwater.
South Carolina officials are taking aim again at the proposal to deepen the Savannah harbor. This time, their criticism deals with how harbor deepening will affect plans to build a new port on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River. South Carolina lawmakers say, the site of the proposed port will be used as a place to dump river-bottom material.
Georgia officials are worried about a potential monkey wrench in the Savannah harbor deepening project. South Carolina environmental officials say, they won't certify that the project meets their state's water quality standards until after a year-long review. Scientists have been studying the issue for 11 years and Georgia officials want the harbor deepened as soon as possible.