This session, lawmakers are too eager this year to adjourn and start campaigning for re-election to poke around into anything too controversial. But the outside world keeps intruding at the Gold Dome. Last month, it was severe winter weather. This month, it’s a lack of federal funding for the Savannah Harbor deepening project.
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.
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.
Vice President Joe Biden brought a sense of urgency to Savannah on Monday. The Vice President was in the coastal city to push for Congressional funding for the $600 million Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. Georgia has been seeking to deepen the harbor for 17 years.
US Army Under Secretary Joseph Westfal became the latest Obama administration official to voice support for a plan to deepen the port of Savannah yesterday. Westfal toured the port on a two-day trip to the the Georgia coast.
Jasper County officials are threatening to take over the Jasper Ocean Terminal project. They complain that the effort, overseen jointly by Georgia and South Carolina, is mired in never-ending studies. South Carolina officials say progress is being made.
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.
Georgia Congressman Doug Collins has started a caucus in the US House to reform the US Army Corps of Engineers. Collins says the bureaucracy in many federal construction projects has made the Corps fiscally irresponsible and inefficient.
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson was in Savannah Wednesday to update port officials on the progress of federal funding for the Savannah harbor expansion project. Earlier in the week, he attended the Atlanta Braves opening day with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. On the prospect of port funding, he was loaded with baseball metaphors.