Georgia Ports Authority reacts to proposed federal budget

By Tim Guidera - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - There's a temporary disappointment and a minor setback for the Georgia Ports Authority.

President Barack Obama did not include any construction funds for the Savannah Harbor deepening project in his 2012 budget that was released Monday.

Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis Foltz said the budget plan was disappointing but not surprising.

Foltz also said it doesn't really change anything in the effort to get the Savannah River deepened in order to keep the nation's fourth largest port competitive in the future.

Foltz said it was actually a longshot that construction money would be included in the 2012 budget.

The president did include $600,000 for pre-construction engineering, which will allow the army corps of engineers to the approval process for a project that Foltz said he is still 100 percent certain will get done.

It's an evolving process. It's something, it will continue. There isn't a yes date or a no date. But we do need to see the current administration starting to show progress in the process and most importantly in my mind, it's a commitment to infrastructure and our competitiveness as a nation.

Because state money will be spent first in the dredging project once funds are approved, any money that would have been allocated today would not have been spent until late in 2012.

Foltz said not being in the 2012 budget really only means a four- to six-month delay at most.

The Savannah area Congressional delegation has vowed to continue fighting for federal funding on Capitol Hill.

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