If deepening the channel leading to the Port of Savannah is Georgia’s number one economic development priority, it may have taken a step toward reality this week. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood responded to the bipartisan overtures of Governor Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed by categorically stating that the project will be funded. Will it happen? “The President isn’t likely to send his transportation secretary down to look at a project he has no intention of funding,” Savannah Congressman Jack Kingston said. As a House appropriations subcommittee chair, Kingston is perfectly positioned to implement the President’s wishes.
Meanwhile, Governor Deal brokered an announcement by Georgia’s two Senators to support federal funding for dredging both the Savannah and Charleston harbors to accommodate the new Panama Canal superships. This was partial payback for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s help in getting a key state board to approve the environmental permits needed to move Savannah’s project forward.