Army's Under Secretary tours Savannah port - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Army's Under Secretary tours port

Under Secretary of the Army Honorable Joseph W. Westphal Under Secretary of the Army Honorable Joseph W. Westphal
CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

The Under Secretary of the Army is in town this week.

Honorable Joseph W. Westphal toured of the Port of Savannah to see operations that would benefit from the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.

The study for the project was done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The study findings conclude the harbor deepening is in the best interest of the U.S. with a huge economic return.

The $652 million project would deepen the harbor from 42 feet to 47 feet.

It will allow larger ships to move  through at a lower cost. It's expected to bring more than $174 million in annual net benefits to the U.S.

"It's significant. It's very large. It increases not only our tax base, so as a government we benefit from it. But it also increases the ability for our consumers to have access to products and markets. It increases our trade deficits where we have them with certain countries," Westphal said. 

Basically for each dollar invested into the project, the nation will see 5.50 cents in return, according to the study data. The projects' benefits were recognized Wednesday by the Under Secretary of the Army.

 

The Georgia Ports Executive Director Curtis Foltz released this statement: "Today, the Under Secretary of the Army Joseph Westphal has gotten a firsthand look at this extraordinary port operation and the urgent need to deepen the Savannah Harbor. For our nation's continued economic health and the success of the National Export Initiative, it is crucial that we move forward with the Savannah Harbor expasion."

"The $174 million we will be saving each year will be nationwide, and since all the tax payers in America are paying for this project, all the tax payers in America will benefit from this port," said Billy Birdwell, public affairs for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah. 

 

The next step to move the project forward is to get Congress to agree to the funding that is necessary. 

Copyright 2013 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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