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Lawmakers back harbor deepening
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ATLANTA—The Georgia House of Representatives passed Senate Resolution 312 Tuesday with a vote of 167 to 3, endorsing the harbor deepening efforts in Savannah and Charleston, as well as the proposed port in Jasper County, SC. This resolution previously passed the Senate unanimously. The overwhelming support for the joint resolution signals the Georgia General Assembly’s intent to ensure the continued growth and economic well-being of the Southeast.

“The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is likely the most important economic development project in our state’s modern history,” said House Economic Development and Tourism Chairman Ron Stephens (R-Savannah). “As larger vessels continue to call on the East Coast, the increased global demand for trade through our ports necessitates increased efficiency, additional capacity and deeper harbors.”

With the expansion of the Panama Canal expected in 2014, deepwater ports in the Southeast must be deepened to more efficiently accommodate the larger container ships that have already begun calling on the U.S. East Coast. Both Georgia and South Carolina are working to prepare for the future demands of global commerce through harbor deepening efforts in Savannah and Charleston and the proposed Jasper port. The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is expected to receive final approval during the first quarter of 2012.

“We are working diligently with the Corps and our other partners in the deepening process to gain approval for this important project,” said Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis J. Foltz. “Georgia stands united in its efforts to complete these projects and we appreciate the great deal of support we receive from our elected officials throughout the state.”