Governor Nathan Deal said Tuesday he has set aside the final $35 million needed from the state to deepen the Savannah harbor. Deal made the announcement at a State of the Ports luncheon hosted by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
On Wednesday, four new cranes began operating at the Port of Savannah. These cranes are some of the largest in the world. They are part of the port's efforts to be ready for large ships expected to sail through Savannah on route to the Panama Canal. GPB's Orlando Montoya got a behind-the-scenes tour from 140 feet in the air.
Gov. Nathan Deal is in Panama touring the major expansion underway of the Panama Canal and says the project there underscores the need for the Port of Savannah to deepen its shipping channel. Deal returns to Georgia on Tuesday.
Georgia officials say they're taking a closer look at having state taxpayers pay a larger upfront share to begin deepening the waterway to the bustling Port of Savannah. The federal government's share of the $652 million project is proving tough to get.
President Barack Obama's proposed fiscal year 2013 budget includes $2.8 million towards the $600 million project to deepen the Port of Savannah, one of the nation's busiest. Supporters of the project pushed for $105 million ahead of the project's final federal approval, expected later this year.
But the chief of Georgia's Ports Authority says, he's still frustrated by delays in the process to approve deepening the Savannah harbor. Curtis Foltz doesn't believe business will suffer as long as work is well underway by the time larger ships start sailing through the Panama Canal in 2014.