Throw a rock, and you just might hit a Georgia politician or business leader who says Savannah’s port needs to be deepened.
With the Panama Canal set to accommodate larger cargo ships within three years, once its expansion is complete, the port at Savannah could reap huge benefits. So, too, could the rest of the state, given that Georgia is already a hub for freight. But to do so, the Savannah River has to be dredged so that the port can handle the larger ships.
Who should pay for the deepening of Savannah's port?
Total Voters: 199
Yesterday, the port got a huge win: South Carolina’s environmental agency, which has a say in the matter because it shares authority with Georgia over the Savannah River, reversed an earlier decision to block the deepening. But it was not an inexpensive victory. South Carolina will receive $1.2 million a year for the next 50 years “to ensure enough oxygen is pumped into the river to prevent summertime fish kills,” according to the story by my AJC colleague Dan Chapman.
From whom? Good question.
Georgia has been seeking federal funding for the deepening, which was expected to cost $650 million before yesterday’s $60 million agreement with South Carolina, but it’s unclear whether Washington will pay up. The requests have been a bit awkward: Georgia’s congressional delegation is heavily Republican, the administration is of course Democratic, and Congress is split and under pressure to cut spending.
Georgia officials maintain the state will pay for the deepening if the feds don’t. But whose responsibility should it be? That’s this week’s Poll Position. Vote in the nearby poll and explain yourself in the comments thread.
– By Kyle Wingfield