9th District U.S. Representative Doug Collins is commenting after the U.S. House passed a bill that includes funding for the deepening of the Savannah Harbor.
Earlier this week, the U.S. House passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, or WRRDA.
The bill authorizes the development and maintenance of the nation’s waterway infrastructure, among other projects.
As part of that, the legislation includes a provision that authorizes the funding necessary for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project to move forward.
This provision will end a 14 year delay of the project to deepen the harbor from 42 to 47 feet in order to accommodate new supertankers that will soon be coming from the Panama Canal.
Collins and all 14 Georgia representatives in the U.S. House voted for the bill.
Representative Collins calls the act a win for Georgia and American competitiveness, saying that it gets Georgia farm produce out into the markets more efficiently and gives northeast Georgia the freedom to plan for the future of its lakes as the region sees fit.
Supporters say the expansion of the Savannah harbor will ensure it remains a vital piece of the national infrastructure and have a major economic impact on Georgia and the nation.
President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers have deemed the Port of Savannah a “nationally and regionally significant infrastructure project.”
Studies by the Army Corps of Engineers show that for every dollar spent on the deepening, the nation will reap $5.50 in benefits.
According to the Georgia Ports Authority, Georgia’s deep water ports and inland barge terminals support more than 352,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $18.5 billion in income, $66.9 billion in revenue and $2.5 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy.
The Senate had passed its own version of the bill back in May and now the House and Senate must reconcile the differences in their two bills before sending the final bill to the president to sign into law.