4/3: Deepening Savannah’s port

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The current AJC series on the deepening of Savannah’s port channel raises questions about where the money will come from to pay for the $650 million project. (Georgia taxpayers are on the hook for $252 million.) But without major federal assistance, it won’t get done.

One analyst says a public-private partnership to build and run the port is the way to go, and should be considered.

The executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority says a state-owned and operated facility allows for needed flexibility.

What do you think?

13 comments Add your comment


April 3rd, 2012
10:56 am

I say the Savannah harbor is prioroity #1. With a deep water port, oil can be brought right to Georgia rather than by overland transport. There are a plethora of other reasons like exports can be delivered to the port at much less cost to the producer. Actually the deep water harbor will extend 38 miles up the Savannah River.
It could all be funded from having casino gambling and river boat gambling if they were legalized.
One concern from environmentalists is the possiblity of deep water dredging contaminating the acquifer[fresh water] that supplies the drinking water for 1,000,000 people. Also, the short nosed sturgeon, an endangered species] may become extinct with deep water dredging. I like the short nosed sturgeon, with a name like that.

blue dog

April 3rd, 2012
10:05 am


Georgia had a “use tax” in place, taxing incoming containers. That tax was repealed 10 Plus years ago to make the port “more competitive” with other states. Problem was, all the other states still enforce a “use tax”. I can personally attest that an audit of Chiquita Bananas shipping co back in the mid 90’s triggering the exemption. The audit was for 4 million dollars…they never paid a dime even though the “use” took place prior to the exemption, and was, therefore, valid.
The state auditor discovered that these “use taxes” were not being reported and found a “gold mine” of uncollected taxes. But, once discovered, the state legislature stopped all audits until they could get the law changed.
Now shall I continue with the “Onion Farmers exemption” which Representative Bob Lane introduced because of a one “pissed off” onion farmer when confronted by one of our sales and use tax auditors.
The state would have had enough funds to deepen the port using the shipping company’s money….the ones who “use it”, But no, lets make the taxpayers pay for it.
If that mentality is correct, why do we collect use taxes from motor fuel to build and maintain our roads ???
It’s pure politics here in Georgia, were the taxpayers are always handed the bill to pay for corporate exemptions….just look at the 2012 “Energy tax exemption”….nothing ever changes.


April 3rd, 2012
8:57 am

The question of how to fund a deepening of the river is perhaps far less important than how the nation approaches making decisions regarding the sizes, locations, and functions of ports and the terrestial transportation infrastructure so critical to the optimum functioning of these ports. The fact that we don’t have anything approaching a national ports policy will continue to result in billions of unwisely invested taxpayer dollars nationally. Some argue that such a national ports policy would essentially be picking winners and losers outside of the market place. Martket place decisions need rational boundaries, especially in a 21st century world economy. Without such boundaries, a blind allegiance to market place decisions gives you the mortgage crisis that almost bankrupted all of the US and western Europe.