Governor Nathan Deal visited three cities Tuesday in a statewide tour to sign local bills and talk about the budget. At Augusta's Georgia Health Sciences University, Deal highlighted funding for 400 new residency slots at hospitals statewide. At the Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah, he focused on $47 million in the state budget for Savannah harbor expansion.
A massive US Army Corps of Engineers report on the $650 million proposed Savannah port expansion goes out for public comment Friday. The report details every aspect of the project, including a $14 million plan to conserve a Confederate battleship in the way of the dredging. The ironclad sank in the harbor in 1864.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants a federal judge to toss a lawsuit that says a $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel needs a South Carolina pollution permit. The Georgia ports want the channel deepened to handle larger ships that will call when the Panama Canal is deepened. Conservation groups on both sides of the river have sued.
Georgia's business and political leaders eagerly awaited this week's final report on Savannah harbor deepening. But while it's the US Army Corps of Engineers' last word on the project, it's not the last word in the public debate over whether the deepening should happen. The agency next week will open a comment period.
A new report ranks Savannah harbor expansion as the state's top priority for improving cargo traffic. The state Transportation and Economic Development departments this week released an analysis that's being called Georgia's first comprehensive freight and logistics plan. The report stresses the link between ports and roads.
The federal government is pumping an additional $2.5 million into pre-construction work that's needed before crews could begin deepening the shipping channel to Savannah's seaport. Officials announced Wednesday the money is being allocated from $741 million in discretionary funds the Army Corps of Engineers has to improve navigation.
Three conservation groups are suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over a $600 million project to deepen the Savannah River shipping channel. The suit was filed Friday in state court in Jasper County on the South Carolina side of the river.
South Carolina's legislature is revolting over the Savannah harbor deepening project. Lawmakers say, the deepening would violate South Carolina environmental laws. But, the state's Governor supports Georgia's efforts.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to build a new laboratory and office complex in Savannah, where the federal agency monitors goods moving through the city's bustling seaport. The lab will replace an existing Customs facility near the Port of Savannah, the nation's fourth-busiest container port.
Georgia ports officials are asking state lawmakers for $46 million for Savannah harbor deepening in the upcoming legislative session. But it's not the only item they'll be following. Georgia Ports Authority also is interested in the results of a year-long initiative to re-write laws affecting businesses.