Gov. Deal: Obama's Budget Underfunds Savannah Port Project

Feb 10, 2016

President Obama’s new budget includes more than $42 million in federal funding for the effort to expand Savannah’s port. 

But that’s less than half of what Gov. Nathan Deal was hoping for.

Deal said, the state needs around $90 million this year to keep the five-year project on track.

Georgia's Republican U.S. Senators, David Perdue and Johnny Isakson, along with Republican Rep. Buddy Carter, joined Deal in expressing disappointment with the budget.

The federal government’s support for the Savannah Harbor Port Expansion Project comes through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, explained this year’s funding, saying the number reflects, “what it is that’s affordable given all the needs across the program for the Corps of Engineers.”

Darcy added that there could be more funding from the current year’s budget that would bring the total dollar amount for next year closer to what the governor wants.

Overall, the federal government has promised to kick in nearly $500 million to make the project happen. The state has already contributed its part – more than $250 million, according to Deal.

The goal is to deepen the Savannah River channel so that larger cargo ships can easily access the port. This is in anticipation of new traffic from the Panama Canal.