Congress to vote on Savannah Ports expansion budget - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Congress to vote on Savannah Ports expansion budget

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said it's time to start moving dirt on the $652 million Savannah Harbor expansion project, which Congress first authorized in 1999.

During his annual State of the State address Wednesday, Deal included $35 million in his proposed budget for the harbor expansion. If approved, Georgia will have appropriated a total a total of $266 million for the project.

The Federal Government is supposed to cover 60 percent of the harbor deepening, which will allow supersized cargo ships to reach Savannah's seaport. Deal said he's willing to start dredging using all state money.

Congress eliminated a bureaucratic hurdle Wednesday.

Congressman Jack Kingston said they officially moved the expansion project from planning to construction in terms of classification.

This project is not only important for Savannah, but also for the nation.

"The port is used from Georgia to Mississippi to Tennessee to North Carolina and beyond when it becomes a bigger port and they can expand and build more product and sell more of them overseas," said Kingston. "So this is a very significant for the southeastern portion of the U.S. and really the whole country."

Three hundred and fifty-two thousand jobs are related to the Port of Savannah.

Congress votes on the budget that includes the $650 million to pay for the expansion next month.

Kingston says he's confident there is enough bi-partisan support for it to pass.

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