Finally we're talking about it. This needs to happen, and I do not find it odd that Biden is supporting this. He is gearing up for a presidential race.
Regardless, this is a good thing. The port needs to be developed, and with that will bring more industry and jobs, stevedoring and warehousing. Honestly, shouldn't shipping come to Savannah verses Miami or Baltimore? Hopefully this will bring incentive to build a high speed rail between Atlanta and Savannah. Maybe I should evernote some notes about forming a shipping company...
By Greg Bluestein
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
GARDEN CITY, Ga. —
Vice President Joe Biden gave his unequivocal support Monday for the $662 million project to dredge Savannah’s port, saying that the deepening would happen “come hell or high water.”
“What are we doing? We’re arguing about whether or not to deepen this port?” said Biden. “It’s time we get moving. I’m sick of this. Folks, this isn’t a partisan issue. It’s an economic issue.”
He didn’t promise any federal funding to the project, viewed as Georgia’s top economic development priority. But state officials, who already set aside more than $200 million for their share, were overjoyed by the vice president’s unabashed backing.
The push to carve another 5 feet in depth along a 38-mile channel of the Savannah River and harbor is one of the rare issues that has united Georgia politicians of all stripes. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, a prominent Democrat, shared the stage with Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson.
The port and its cousin in Brunswick support 100,000 metro Atlanta jobs and, according to a University of Georgia study, constitute a $39 billion economic boost for the state. Deepening the waterway from 42 feet to 47 feet would allow bigger ships coming through the expanded Panama Canal to dock in Savannah and keep the port competitive with rivals.
“(Those ships) can’t operate with consistency in ports that are 42 feet deep,” said Biden. “What are we talking about? What don’t we understand? What more do we have to know to generate the kind of economy that this nation deserves?”
The deepening project has been in political limbo almost since Georgia officials first asked the federal government to study the deepening of the Savannah River and harbor in 1996. Environmental complaints, political infighting and bureaucratic delays held up the project for years.