December 9, 2010 by staff
Panama Canal, With federal deficits running high, Kasim Reed Atlanta mayor and business leaders to ramp up the pressure on the federal government Thursday to dredge the Port of Savannah to accommodate larger vessels should pass through the channel Panama.
State officials want to deepen the second largest port on the coast is six feet, giving him a depth of 48 feet at the time the Panama Canal expansion project completes its own. If the largest port in Georgia can not accommodate large ships moving through the channel, regional leaders are afraid to sail elsewhere.
The project is unusual alliances. Local Republican lawmakers have vowed to oppose affects – but not for the port. Reed, a Democrat, is seeking White House support for a project of nearly 250 miles from his hometown because he credits the support 300,000 jobs statewide.
“We do not have a greater possibility that possibility in my mind, which is about the deepening of the port, which is why I put all partisanship aside,” Reed said. “He is that Georgia will be in 10 years, 20 years, in 30 years.”
Home Depot CEO Frank Blake said his renovation business moves over a quarter of its shipment from the ports of Savannah and Brunswick. Larger ships moving through the Panama Canal can carry more goods at lower cost. But he noted that many cargo ships must now wait for high tide in shallow transit port of Savannah.
“When the Panama Canal is growing and you have larger ships, you make a bad situation while dramatically worse,” said Blake. “And I would just say that neither we nor any company in the region can afford these ships pass us and go elsewhere.”
Opposition to dredging project has been focused on environmental concerns. Environmentalists have said the project would transform the freshwater wetlands in salt water, in a critical habitat for destroying several endangered species or threatened species, including bald eagles, wood storks, manatees and shortnose sturgeon.
However, the project took a step forward last month when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued a draft that the acquisition of wetlands and take other protective measures could offset the environmental damage caused by the dredging.
Port officials began studying whether to dredge the harbor in 1996. The final decision on whether to allow dredging is not expected before the end of next year.
Now, Reed and other leaders are lobbying hard for federal funding needed for the project and 625 million. Senator Saxby Chambliss said recently that he supported a ban Republicans led by dedicated, but he reserved the right to ask for money for dredging.
Atlanta-based AJC International uses the port of Savannah to ship books 5000000-7000000 dark meat of chicken per week in 49 countries, including Russia, China and the Middle East and the Caribbean, “said Eric Joiner Vice-President of the company.
Joiner said he feared that asking a federal funding could be difficult after a recession has prompted legislators to promise spending cuts. He participated in the panel to talk to convince regional leaders that the port infrastructure is essential, not frivolous spending.
“There is not much money for everybody,” said Joiner. “And everybody has good projects that everyone is there who want money. And I’m afraid people will think,” Well, is it a spare? “
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