Georgia delegation urges president to fund harbor deepening - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

GA delegation urges president to fund harbor deepening

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WASHINGTON (WTOC) -

The 16members of the Georgia congressional delegation sent a letter to SylviaBurwell, director of the Office of Management and Budget, to express disappointmentin OMB for not supporting the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.

PresidentBarack Obama's FY 2015 budget that was released earlier this week did notinclude funding that would deepen the Savannah Harbor from 42 to 47 feet.

Gov. NathanDeal in response had said Georgia would move forward with the project. Deal saidTuesday that Georgia would use the money it has put aside over several years tobegin work so that the project doesn't fall further behind schedule.

TheConsolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 that was signed into law by thepresident on Jan. 17, gave clear direction to the administration to beginconstruction on SHEP and to request the necessary funding, according to a newsrelease from the delegation.

Letterfrom the Georgia congressional delegation:

March6, 2014

TheHonorable Sylvia M. Burwell
Director
TheOffice of Management and Budget
72517th Street, NW
Washington,DC 20503

DearMs. Burwell:

Wewere very disappointed by your agency's lack of support for the Savannah HarborExpansion Project.

Ourdelegation is united in the belief that this project should have been fundedunder the explicit guidance provided to the executive branch through theConsolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. In this legislation, we includedconstruction funds for SHEP (which we have done since fiscal year 2009), atwo-year Section 902 waiver, and language explicitly stating that SHEP was to beconsidered in construction for the budget process. This legislation was signedby the President on January 17 of this year and had a clear directive: fundSHEP.

Witha cost-benefit ratio of 5.5 to 1 and an annual net benefit to the nation of$174 million, SHEP has wide support. The President and Vice President havejoined the entire Georgia delegation, the Governor of Georgia, Mayor ofAtlanta, and countless local leaders in their strong support of SHEP. ThePresident included the Port of Savannah in his 2012 "We Can't Wait" initiative,and just this fall, the Vice President visited Savannah, stating that we willcomplete SHEP "come hell or high water." 

Thisproject has been a priority for us, and the Governor and the Georgia GeneralAssembly have allocated $256 million in state funds to be used for the stateshare of construction for SHEP. As the livelihood of this project has littlealternative at this point, it is now imperative that the finalization of theProject Partnership Agreement with Georgia be completed as soon as possible andthe Corps be allowed to utilize the state's $266 million to initiateconstruction contracts this year. We intend to make this point clear to theArmy Corps of Engineers as well.    

Wehope you would agree that stimulating our economy and creating new jobs throughincreased import and export trade is important. In orderto accomplish that, we need to be serious about the construction of SHEP.

Sincerely,

UnitedStates Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

UnitedStates Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

RepresentativeJack Kingston (GA-01)

RepresentativeSanfordBishop (GA-02)                                               

RepresentativeLynn Westmoreland  (GA-03)

RepresentativeHank Johnson (GA-04)

RepresentativeJohn Lewis (GA-05)

RepresentativeTom Price (GA-06)

RepresentativeRobWoodall (GA-07)                                                

RepresentativeAustin Scott (GA-08)

RepresentativeDoug Collins (GA-09)                                               

RepresentativePaul Broun (GA-10)

RepresentativePhilGingrey (GA-11)                                                 

RepresentativeJohn Barrow (GA-12)

RepresentativeDavid Scott(GA-13)                           

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