SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen spoke about bipartisan infrastructure law investments at the Port of Savannah Friday. Her remarks focused on the possible government shutdown and how this could impact what she calls “vulnerable infrastructure.”
“Infrastructure investment is crucial to increasing opportunity for all Americans,” Yellen said.
The Port of Savannah is one of the fastest-growing ports in the nation. Expansion is possible with $56 million from the federal government.
“These projects change the lives and livelihoods of Americans across the country, and they build our economic strength,” Yellen said.
That money comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is part of President Joe Biden’s “Investing in America” Agenda.
“We recognize that our port continues to grow. Our community continues to grow,” said Savannah Mayor Van Johnson. “With that, we found new and creative ways to deal with issues of transportation and clean energy. This helps us to continue to do that while remaining still competitive. Our ports now in this country, but around the world, are a very attractive place for businesses to come.”
Forty-eight million dollars is going towards environmental monitoring to ensure ships can navigate Savannah Harbor. An additional $8 million is supporting pop-up container yards to relieve the backlog created by pandemic-related supply chain issues that contributed to higher prices.
The Port of Savannah sees 37 weekly vessel calls on average, and 6,000 trucks are in and out on an average day.
“We want to make sure that we maintain our environment and keep our environment pristine as it is and make sure that we’re not creating issues by that growth,” Johnson said. “That requires money, requires study, and requires the professionals to do that.”
Yellen says a looming government shutdown could halt many operations.
“A shutdown would impact many key government functions for most of farmers and small businesses to food and workplace safety inspections, to Head Start programs for children,” she said. “It could delay major infrastructure improvements.”