State leaders celebrate funding for coastal resilience projects

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 3:25 PM EDT|Updated: May. 24, 2023 at 4:37 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - State and local leaders routed major federal investments in coastal resilience projects in our area Wednesday.

They’re meant to help protect our coasts from extreme weather and climate change.

Aldermen, commissioners, and state representatives gathered Wednesday to highlight how important our coast is to the local economy and way of life, and celebrate funding for projects to keep our wetlands, fisheries, and ports protected from extreme weather events.

The projects focus on the conservation and restoration of coastal habitats and protecting our communities that rely on them.

The money comes from the Inflation Reduction Act and the 2022 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

It includes 12 million for flood mitigation and coastal infrastructure, 100 million for new hurricane hunter aircraft, which will be built at Gulfstream, and 1 million dollars for a new visitor center for the Grays Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

Chatham County Commissioner Aaron Whitely says these investments are crucial for our area to weather hurricane season.

“Storm surges are real, and if you don’t believe me, ask your neighbors in Carver Village and Carver Heights, ask your neighbors in downtown Savannah, ask your neighbors in east savannah who often are stuck when we have long rains.”

Whitely says a project to upgrade drainage across Chatham County is already in the study phase.

He says the Federal funding means less money comes out of local and state taxes to fix these issues.