Archive for the ‘Port of Savannah’ Category

Your daily jolt: Bloody Marys, stogies dropped from Senate lunch menu

By tradition, Coca-Cola has served as the corporate sponsor of a luncheon honoring the president pro tem of the state Senate at the opening of each year’s session.

Also by tradition, the menu has included Bloody Marys and cigars. But no more. We’re told that both alcohol and stogies have been removed from this afternoon’s festivities honoring David Shafer, R-Duluth, the Senate’s newly elected leader.

The reason? The flourishes were thought to clash with the Capitol’s embrace of ethics reform, including a $100 per lawmaker cap on gifts from lobbyists passed by the Senate on Monday.

Or perhaps it was fallout from Coke’s new anti-obesity campaign. Either one.

Speaking of ethics, here’s the exchange that just took place between House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle at this morning’s Eggs & Issues breakfast, sponsored by the Georgia Chamber. My AJC colleague Greg Bluestein said Cagle had just finished bragging about the Senate’s approval of a $100 cap on gifts …

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An attempt to bypass S.C. objections to Savannah port dredging

Russ Bynum of the Associated Press reports that the U.S. Corps of Engineers is attempting to neutralize South Carolina opposition to the dredging of the Port of Savannah:

SAVANNAH, Ga.— The federal agency seeking to deepen the Savannah harbor sent letters to Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker John Boehner and eight other Washington lawmakers saying the $652 million project should be allowed to bypass environmental review by South Carolina, which shares the Savannah River with Georgia.

The letters from the Army Corps of Engineers were disclosed in filings Thursday in U.S. District Court. The Corps wants to deepen more than 30 miles of the river from 42 feet to 47 feet to give supersized cargo ships room to reach the Port of Savannah.

The federal government gave final approval to the project in October and the Corps wants to begin construction in 2013. However, the federal Clean Water Act typically requires environmental permits from affected states.

Georgia granted one …

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Your daily jolt: Colin Powell picks Barack Obama – again

Continue reading Your daily jolt: Colin Powell picks Barack Obama – again »

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 …

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Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal steps up on transportation sales tax

On Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal chose Savannah as a venue for one of his strongest endorsements yet of a penny sales tax to boost transportation spending. From Larry Peterson and the Savannah Morning News:

Deal acknowledged that people don’t like higher taxes.

“The question,” he added, “is what is the alternative to keep your area growing and progressive?”

…He said funds from the measure would help move goods more efficiently in and out of the port of Savannah.

Deal said the increase, which would boost sales taxes in Chatham County to 8 percent, is needed because other revenues haven’t kept pace with growth.

On a similar note, Lori Geary of Channel 2 Action News draws a line between July 31 transportation vote and the burgeoning race between Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock and Republican challenger Brandon Beach:

Then we have the case of Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee, who took time from his re-election campaign last week to refer to critics of …

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Your morning jolt: The Port of Savannah’s competition – on the West Coast

As Georgia pursues federal funding for the $650 million dredging of the Port of Savannah, much attention is given to competition with other East Coast ports such as Jacksonville, Miami and Charleston.

But the West Coast may be the more important rival to Savannah’s success. From McClatchy News Service:

Several factors make a significant shift from one coast to the other unlikely. The first is speed. It’s less expensive for a ship to go the all-water route to the East Coast instead of docking on the West Coast and offloading containers onto trucks or trains, but it also takes at least a week longer. For consumer electronics and other high-end goods that need to get to store shelves quickly, retailers will pay more for faster transit times.

Second, ports in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland, Calif., and Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., are deep enough to handle the bigger ships. They have warehousing space for containers, and they have highly developed rail connections to the …

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Saxby Chambliss on eliminating deductions for 2nd home mortgages

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss on Monday said he’s taken heart from Mitt Romney’s mention of the possibility of doing away with mortgage interest deductions on second homes, and said he’d like to see a presidential debate this fall dedicated to the federal fiscal crisis that will immediately follow the November election.

“I was glad to see [Romney] at least allude to that. That’s the kind of conversation that we’re going to have to have,” Chambliss said.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, AP/Alex Brandon

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, AP/Alex Brandon

In a speech to the Atlanta Press Club, Chambliss gave an update of his “Gang of Six” efforts with U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., to broker a bipartisan solution to the ballooning federal deficit – and the possible end of George W. Bush-era tax cuts that will expire on Dec. 31.

The Georgia senator also warned that whoever wins the White House will have to almost immediately come before Congress to request another increase in the debt ceiling. “You remember that ugly fight last summer? It …

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Port of Savannah dredging gets green light from feds

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this morning endorsed the dredging of the Port of Savannah by an additional five feet – to 47 feet. That’s one foot shorter than originally proposed, a nod to environmental concerns.

But five feet, and a high tide, should adequately accommodate new, larger ships intended for a refurbished Panama Canal, the Corps declared.

From the press release:

“We all know how critical this extra depth is to the ability of our nation to move cargo efficiently,” said Curtis Foltz, [Georgia Port Authority] executive director. “The depth, along with an average seven foot tide, strikes the right balance between the needs of our industry and the environment of the Savannah River. Nearly 40 percent of the project cost is dedicated to environmental mitigation, preservation of cultural resources or the improvements to river access for the public.”

The cost of the product has been bumped up to $652 million. The endorsement by the Corps gives a green light for federal …

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Your morning jolt: Final fed studies on Port of Savannah deepening to be released today

Yes, we finally have a Republican presidential nominee, but look for this to dominate the news cycle in Georgia today. From the Associated Press –but the italics are mine:

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Plans to deepen the shipping channel to the Port of Savannah are moving a big step forward with the release of key federal government studies that took 16 years and $41 million to complete.

The Army Corps of Engineers planned to release its final studies on the economic and environmental impacts of the harbor expansion project Wednesday. The massive report’s arrival marks the beginning of the endgame for the $600 million project, which requires approval from four federal agencies before construction can begin.

The Georgia Ports Authority wants to deepen 38 miles of the Savannah River between the port and the Atlantic Ocean by 6 feet to accommodate supersized cargo ships. Gov. Nathan Deal has made the project a top priority, but it’s met staunch resistance from neighboring South Carolina.

The …

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S.C. high court to rule on Savannah port deepening

From the Associated Press:

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The South Carolina Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a dispute over a permit for a $600 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel.

Proponents say the deepening is needed so Georgia ports can handle larger ships that will be calling when the Panama Canal is widened in two years.

A lawsuit filed last month contends that the water quality certification approved by the board of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is illegal. That’s because five years ago, lawmakers gave authority over river dredging decisions to the state’s Savannah River Maritime Commission, the lawsuit says.

The suit was brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Savannah Riverkeeper, based in Augusta, Ga., the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, the South Carolina Wildlife Federation and the Conservation Voters of South Carolina.

The groups contend that deepening the channel will harm …

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