U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., applauded the United States Army Corps of Engineers decision today to release its final report for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) for review by state and federal agencies and the general public.
The final report--consisting of a General Re-evaluation Report (GRR) and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)--concluded that deepening the harbor to 47 feet is economically viable, environmentally sustainable, and in the best interests of the United States.
The studies, authorized by Congress, concluded that deepening the Savannah Harbor to 47 feet will bring $174 million in annual net benefits to the United States. Savannah has the fastest growing container port in the nation but has the shallowest depth of its major worldwide trading partners.
"Today's announcement marks a vital milestone in the ongoing process of deepening the Port of Savannah," said Chambliss. "This project is critically important to ensure Savannah is able to accommodate global shipping traffic once the expansion of the Panama Canal is complete in 2014. This would bring more jobs and businesses not just to Georgia, but to the entire Southeast."
"I am delighted to see the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project continue to move forward with today's milestone," said Isakson. "Preparing the Port of Savannah for the vessels of the future is absolutely critical to our economy at both the state and national levels, and I will continue to do all that I can to see this project through to its completion."
The Corps is expected to sign the Record of Decision--the final step in the process before construction can begin-- in late 2012.