Deal: Additional $50 million needed for Savannah Harbor expansion

ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal said he will seek an additional $50 million in funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project as part of his FY2014 budget proposal.

Deal will make the request at a Georgia Ports Authority Board meeting.

“I am committed to allocating funds and time to this pivotal link in our logistics network,” Deal said in a statement. “Expanding the Savannah Harbor is vital to our renewed economic growth and plays an integral role in helping make our state the No. 1 place in the nation in which to do business.”

If approved, the proposal will increase state funding for the deepening project to $231.1 million.

“Studies indicate that the port deepening will reduce shipping costs by at least $213 million a year,” Georgia Ports Authority Board Chairman Robert Jepson said in a statement. “The 5.5-to-1 benefit-to-cost ratio demonstrates that the expenditure would be a wise investment of federal dollars.”

Overall, the cost of the project is anticipated to be $652 million. The Record of Decision, signifying final federal approval for the project, was issued in October, allowing for construction to begin in 2013.

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