Congress passes Energy and Water Appropriations Bill - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Congress passes Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The Savannah Harbor isn't deeper yet, but Congress dug a little closer to getting this project started.

On Thursday, the House passed the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, which is money the federal government will spend on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.

President Obama did not set aside money for SHEP in his annual budget, but this is Congress' way of voting to change that.

The House passed the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill and its $1.5 million which would be the first installment by the federal government. The project will cost more than $600 million, with the federal government paying 60 percent and the state paying the rest.

Congressman Jack Kingston, D-GA, said he was extrememly disappointed when President Obama did not originally set aside money is his budget, but he said this vote is a step in the right direction.

"What it does do is move the money to a construction account and recognizes that the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is no longer in planning category as an on-going project," said Kingston.

The bill still has to pass the Senate and then the President will have to sign it, but in the meantime, the State of Georgia is negotiating which money they will use first, the state's or the federal government's.

Army Corps of Engineer officials said they hope to begin construction by the end of the year or early next year.

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