SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff said he’s committed to doing whatever it takes to get the final round of funding to deepen the Savannah harbor.
Ossoff visited the Port of Savannah Wednesday, calling it “a feat of engineering and logistics.”
He said he agrees with Georgia Ports Authority officials that the deepening project should be completed by the end of this year.
Ossoff also said he’s taken his support for funding the project to the top.
“I have raised the issue of fully funding and expediting completion of the project with senior Biden administration officials and with the president himself,” the Democratic senator said.
The Port of Savannah is the third-largest port in the United States. Ossoff says the new proposed infrastructure bill can ensure funding for the final stage of the deepening.
The total cost of the project is bordering on up to $1 billion.
The outer harbor (in the ocean) has already been deepened. Now, the final stage is deepening the inner harbor (the Savannah River) from 42 to 47 feet to accommodate larger ships carrying more products.
“The United States has been deferring vital investments in infrastructure for decades and decades and decades,” said Ossoff. “But the American people are united in a bipartisan way that we need to make historic investments in infrastructure.”
He says finishing the deepening means leadership for the state in international trade.
“This is going to create jobs for Savannah, for Georgia, for the American southeast and for the whole country,” the senator said.
Ossoff also says Georgia can and should take the lead in infrastructure and clean energy.
“Solar panels, electric vehicle battery technology and this extraordinary port. And these are all linked and these are the hubs of Georgia’s economic future,” said Ossoff.
The issue now is will the expensive infrastructure bill pass. Republicans in Congress are saying it’s too much.
In terms of the bill itself, Ossoff told WSAV, “there are always going to be politics around ambitious proposals.”
He also said he remains committed to getting the port project completed and will fight that it be on the top of the priority list in the new infrastructure bill.
“The harbor expansion project here at the Port of Savannah is one of the most vital infrastructure projects in the United States,” said Ossoff.
The senator also praised the city of Savannah for incentives to use more clean energy.
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, who was part of the tour, said Ossoff has been very involved in seeking information on the port and the city since taking office in January.
“It’s one thing to work as a city in a vacuum, but it’s something different to have that federal support,” said Johnson, “and we have enjoyed that federal support from Sen. Ossoff.”