White House commits to Port of Savannah dredging

President Barack Obama today will announce that the dredging of the Port of Savannah is among seven nationally significant infrastructure projects that have been placed on a funding fast track, with all necessary federal reviews to be finished by November.

The program, part of what Obama has dubbed his “We Can’t Wait” initiative, amounts to a federal commitment to the $650 million deepening. Political and business leaders throughout Georgia have called the deepening is the most important infrastructure project in the state.

Other ports to receive improvements: Charleston, Jacksonville, Miami, and the Port of New York and New Jersey. The administration says dozens of additional projects to be expedited will be announced in the coming months.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who helped open doors for Georgia Republicans in Washington, this morning praised Obama for expediting the process.

“This is critical for the entire state of Georgia, and is yet another example of the importance of working together across bipartisan and regional lines to keep us competitive and create jobs,” the Atlanta mayor said.

U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson likewise applauded the decision.

“I am glad to see that the administration recognizes the importance of the Port of Savannah,” said Chambliss. “This project has been in the works for more than a decade. It is time that the planning phase come to an end, and we move to construction.”

“This is a positive step by the administration in recognizing the importance of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project to our nation’s economy. We must be prepared for the larger vessels of the future, and I hope we can build on this momentum and begin the actual harbor deepening in Savannah as soon as possible,” Isakson said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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84 comments Add your comment

Citizen

July 19th, 2012
8:14 am

That’s what can happens when a Mayor and Governor from different parties work together. Thank Mayor Reed and Governor Deal.

Eagle 6 on it

July 19th, 2012
8:20 am

Thanks guys for working together

BW

July 19th, 2012
8:22 am

Socialism from our Republican congressmen….hypocrisy. In the real world this is a good thing for this state and I wish people would acknowledge that governmemt has a role to play in our lives.

Mark

July 19th, 2012
8:24 am

It’s wonderful to see parties finally coming together for something good.

KeepDreaming

July 19th, 2012
8:25 am

Wow I’m shocked, Kasim did something useful!

Road Scholar

July 19th, 2012
8:27 am

Keep Dreaming: When will you?

Huh?

July 19th, 2012
8:28 am

How will this get fast-tracked with South Carolina trying to screw it up? Will this somehow get SC to back off?

VOTE YES JULY 31st!!!

July 19th, 2012
8:32 am

20/20

July 19th, 2012
8:33 am

BW @ 0822a; Yes, Gummint “..does have a role to play in our lives.” It the definitions and effects of other “roles” that differentiates you and me.

Tom

July 19th, 2012
8:38 am

They need to build the port closer to sea. This deepening project has the propensity to allow salt water intrusion into an already compromised fresh water aquifer.

Hartwell homeowner

July 19th, 2012
8:40 am

Good news for Savannah, does anyone know how this will impact the upstream lakes, Hartwell, Russell and Strom Thurmond? They are now many feet below full pool, based on the COE’s drought management program. Will they draw these lakes down further, thus ruining the economies of the surrounding lake communities?

Wake Up Georgia!

July 19th, 2012
8:47 am

If only people would see we have a great president who tries to do the right thing despite all the roadblocks and criticism. His decision is not going to help him one bit in Georgia, because there are very few leaders with brains here. Thank goodness for the Mayor of Atlanta who represents Savannah and the rest of the state at a time when we really need him. Most republicans should just be embarrassed. The only thing they are good at building are roadblocks. Keeps “them” employed I guess.

Atlanta Intellectual

July 19th, 2012
8:47 am

@Hartwell homeowner: No.

Centrist

July 19th, 2012
8:51 am

Huh? posted “How will this get fast-tracked with South Carolina trying to screw it up? Will this somehow get SC to back off?”

I guess you missed the part about how the Charleston port is also on the fast track list.

doh

July 19th, 2012
8:53 am

Socialism…is….bad

dd

July 19th, 2012
8:55 am

good stuff…..glad to see the govt playing the role that it’s well suited to play.

Puerile Pedant

July 19th, 2012
8:56 am

Mo’ Pork for Georgia. Notwithstanding their efforts to help this questionable pork-barrel spending, Obama and Reed will get completely dissed by the GOP for their efforts while Deal, Saxby Shameless and Kingston will take all the credit.

Mayor Reed — we’ve got plenty of problems in the city. Spending your time on Savannah or pushing a tax to build more suburban roads is not going to make this a better city. Gov Deal and the GOP Congressional and State legislature have snookered you again.

Please, somebody with ethics and a brain, run against Reed next year.

OldSchool

July 19th, 2012
8:58 am

Whoa, right there, partner. Let things rin their natural course and progress as established rules allow. Stop all this talk of “fast tracking”, which will do nothing but open the door wider for corruptions and deal-making to come in.

Stop intervening when you should be concentrating on other subjects.

doh

July 19th, 2012
8:59 am

Your right Puerlie, I am in Savannah, and I can tell you NONE of the products that are offloaded here ever make it to Atlanta. I mean yeah they have this thing called an interstate highway and a railroad between Savannah and Atlanta, but that doesn’t mean anything gets up there. We here in Savannah, keep it all to ourselves.

newkid

July 19th, 2012
9:00 am

C’mon man. It’s July, 2012. To describe this action as ‘expediting’ is laughable. It’s this sort of ‘after all’ back slapping that sends the message (from professional politicians to citizens) that we should all be just fine with 10 years of ‘do nothingism’ if only we appear to be rescused by our dearly beloved (and forever bickering) politicians in the 11th hour. Warning: drink the koolaid at your own risk.

If, as would have been appropriate, we make this decision 7-10 years ago, then we could/should have spent the past decade fully developing the well-reticulated land-based infrastructure in the US southeast to ensure we can take full regional economic advantage of a deepened port at Savannah and wherever else in the region. Properly developed ports will not by themselves ensure that the southeast US (mayor, this is not just about Georgia) maximizes the economic opportunities that’ll be created by expansion of the Canal at Panama or more, safe, and larger transport through Suez. But rather than, back in 2007 or so, having a useful debate about how to optimally develop a regional interstate land-based infrastructure to take full economic advantage of a deepend port at Savannah, we (drunken by teh koolaid) celebrate the fact that our leadership has finally awaken from an apparent 10-year long sleep at the wheel. Thanks, but no thanks from me on this score.

Road Scholar

July 19th, 2012
9:03 am

Puerile Parent: Those roads go both ways! We need to get our exports to the coast, just like the imports to the markets! The port fuels jobs. It has continued to grow with increases in activities, which benefit the whole state, as well as other states.

dd

July 19th, 2012
9:03 am

so since this was done by a lib pres, the reaction will likely be 1) from libs – see, the govt is awesome, and businesses really do owe their success to it 2) from cons – an intrusion once again by an activist govt, who is only interested in votes.

If it was done by a con pres, it would likely be 1) from libs – they are taking money from the common person (taxpayer) in order to enrich their cronies whose evil capitalist businesses stand to make all the money, and these businesses should be paying for it 2) from cons – this’ll create jobs for everyone and grow the pie!!

completely different reactions, to the decision, just because it was made by a different party. Sad…our country is so messed up.

Brigitte

July 19th, 2012
9:04 am

It’s about time that we move forward on this issue….

Thank you God

Road Scholar

July 19th, 2012
9:05 am

dd : Agreed but regardless, it will benefit the state’s economy.

doh

July 19th, 2012
9:08 am

If you knew anything about the port in Savannah, you would know that it is the 2nd largest port in the country for handling exports, and the largest on the east coast, only LA handles more exports.

hiram

July 19th, 2012
9:12 am

@centrist
Charleston and Savannah are competing for the same market, and Charleston’s port has a couple of advantages – it can be dredged deeper for half of the cost to dredge Savannah and is closer to the ocean, with much less environmental impact. Charleston is only 50 miles further from Atlanta, and much closer to Columbia, Charlotte, and Raliegh, but not as close to Sonny’s trucking operation.

Centrist

July 19th, 2012
9:13 am

@ dd – Very well put. Welcome to the reality view from the center.

I have no idea if this taxpayer cost/ added debt is an investment that will deliver great enough returns to justify it, or not. But you point out that other than pork involved politicians, the other politicians will simply give you their party line.

steve

July 19th, 2012
9:13 am

Obama is doing what is best for this country depsite Georgia being a RED state. He has no chance to win in GA but again this shows true leadership on his part. He should be commended for such an outstanding decision!

unzipped

July 19th, 2012
9:30 am

So much polarized comment, don’t you folks see the true value in all this?? Currently, the largest ships with the most, and most valuable cargo, can only port in LA, and the goods have to be shipped east by truck and rail, inflating the cost and the prices to the end users. President Obama, knowing that work is starting on widening the Panama Canal, is fast tracking these projects—-and side stepping the political, partisan bickering—-so these east coast ports will be ready to accept the large ships, which will be a HUGE boost to our economy!! Get your heads out of the sand, folks, and try to look beyond your myopic partisan views!!

Sheriff Stan

July 19th, 2012
9:33 am

BW, let me ask you something: do you feel anything when you burn your garbage?

Ken Dollar

July 19th, 2012
9:38 am

I want to board a cruise ship in Savannah. Screw Florida. A state suited only for cat bruhs.

JuliusG

July 19th, 2012
9:51 am

There are many that speak of Mayor Reed in a negative light. But he delivers results. There is no denying that! With this deal alone it will boost our economy to where is should be. This is a great step in the right direction. Keep up the great work.

jconservative

July 19th, 2012
9:51 am

What is the status of the South Carolina lawsuits?

Several businesses have established or will be established in the greater Atlanta area due to the Port of Savannah’s future. Haul the goods via interstate from Savannah to Atlanta and from there all over the southeast via the interstate system.

See the new PVH facility in McDonough.

jd

July 19th, 2012
9:52 am

So, did Sam Walton build all those ships, ports, railroads, and roads by himself?

MARTA Rida

July 19th, 2012
9:57 am

Great job seeing Mayor Reed and Gov. Deal work together for the greater good of the whole state. If only South GA politicians cared as much for Atlanta as Atlanta’s mayor cares for the whole state, then there would not be a divide between urban Atlanta and rural Georgia.

Marlboro Man

July 19th, 2012
9:59 am

Pork is good, when eaten at home.

Centrist

July 19th, 2012
10:03 am

Pork is not so good when you have to buy it for everyone else.

CB

July 19th, 2012
10:04 am

Another great opportunity to create jobs and support the small business community. Hats off to Mayor Reed and President Obama!

shut up SC

July 19th, 2012
10:08 am

Can we just build a 30′ high wall between Ga. and SC.? Those bums have done everything they could to get this whole project derailed.

Marlboro Man

July 19th, 2012
10:09 am

Spending appears to be ok with our Senators, how will they fund such projects ? Would taxes be the answer ? Good thing we have a credit line.

Diehard

July 19th, 2012
10:12 am

Stop the carping and give praise where it is due: Gov. Deal and Mayor Reed make a strong team for GA. The port affects every county in GA. GA is getting its fair share of federal largesse. Enough said.

atler8

July 19th, 2012
10:14 am

Centrist:
Regarding your post here at 8:51:
It doesn’t matter whether or not Charleston is also on the list. That’s not the point Huh? was making with his comment that you replied to. The fast track efforts are not an either/or proposition. In other words if the funding fails for one port it is not stopped for all of them.
So, I guess that it’s you that has missed the part where S.C. has been trying every angle to block the proposed improvements for the Port of Savannah. The AJC & other media sources have been thoroughly documenting the tactics of S.C. so it’s not a secret.

AMitchell

July 19th, 2012
10:17 am

Governor Deal & Mayor Reed!!!
This is commerce…This is transportation…This is national & regional progress!
Georgia is on the MOVE!

MT

July 19th, 2012
10:21 am

This is good for Georgia. Gotta be able to receive that ship or our port will die to the others. As for politics, it’s all about timing decisions. Obama doesn’t have a prayer for SC who has been been battling against GA getting our portion of the $. I applaud both sides of isle for making this happen, but Obama’s incentive in doing so is to try to turn GA blue for him – that’s it. Rees deserves credit but not Obama.

Southern61

July 19th, 2012
10:25 am

MAYOR KASIM REED–YOU are EXCELLENT!! Keep up the great work and thank you for having the vision to excel the SOUTH!!!!!!!! Georgia & Atlanta needs you….

ed

July 19th, 2012
10:25 am

What’s all the backslapping about? Coming back to Georgia is money confiscated by the federal government in the first place. If our elected officials can’t influence the allocation of federal funds for worthwhile spending why were they elected? Sounds like the robber had a change of heart after emptying our pockets, gave us back some crumbs, and we’re in supplication. Rubbish!
I was just wondering what Isakkson and that other Georgia senator do in Washington besides take care of their friends, enjoy the perks of congress, and build up a generous retirement funded by taxpayers. OMG they did something, for a change. Hooooray.

Political Avoider

July 19th, 2012
10:28 am

Ok, when this pork barrell project is finished, and the Savannah river areas ecosystem is 80% destroyed, they will only come back in 10 years and destroy the remaining 20%. These greedy money grubbers won’t be happy until all of our natural areas are destroyed then our children and grandchildren will suffer. Of course, the money grubbers don’t give a happy damn because they will be dead and long gone.

Double Zero Eight

July 19th, 2012
10:32 am

Obama has written Georgia off. He recognizes that
he has no chance to win the state. He supported the
dredging for the port of Savannah as he obviously thought
it was the right thing to do., He put politics aside.

Optimist

July 19th, 2012
10:32 am

Right on – another decade and millions of $$ to do the dredging. Moving right along!!!

Centrist

July 19th, 2012
10:39 am

@ atler8 – The question was “How will this get fast-tracked with South Carolina trying to screw it up? Will this somehow get SC to back off?”

South Carolina was competing for pork tax dollars even though the SC Governor did not object to Georgia’s attempt to dredge the Savannah port. Now that the Charleston port is on equal “fast track” footing, much of the SC objections should disappear/ be swept aside.