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.
Conservation groups in two states say the Army Corps of Engineers needs a South Carolina pollution permit now, not later, for the $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel. Attorneys late Tuesday filed a response to a corps request that a federal judge dismiss their lawsuit against the project.
About 350,000 Georgia workers owe their jobs in some way to the Georgia ports. A report released by the University of Georgia says, 1-in-12 Georgia jobs is port-dependent. Critics say, the figures are inflated, counting every Wal-Mart greeter and store clerk as port-dependent since they work at a company that uses the ports.
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.
Savannah's mayor says she got to lobby President Barack Obama for his support on deepening the city's bustling seaport. Mayor Edna Jackson was among 14 city leaders who met with Obama on Monday in Washington, where they're attending a conference of the National League of Cities.