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Gov. Deal encouraged by port funding in president's budget

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(WTGS File/ Credit: Shelbey Roberts)

President Trump released his infrastructure plan Monday, with focuses on building and repairing roads, highways, ports and airports.

One of those categories in particular is aimed at the Savannah area.

The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project has been in the works for quite some time, with the first phase only reaching completion in July 2017.

SHEP is a $973 million project that will dredge 32 miles of the Savannah River to allow for super-sized container ships already coming through the Panama Canal.

Included in Trump's infrastructure plan is $49 million for SHEP.

Gov. Nathan Deal released a statement on the newly released budget:

I am encouraged to see that SHEP was President Trump’s top priority when it comes to port investments, the expansion of the Port of Savannah is the single most important infrastructure project not only for Georgia, but for the Southeast as a whole, and deepening it is necessary to allow larger ships like the Neo-Panamax to navigate through our ports more quickly and ensure that a greater volume of goods will be able to move through our state. On top of President Trump’s budget, we are looking forward to investment from the Army Corps of Engineers' work plan to supplement this amount. Finally, I am grateful for members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation and call upon them to redouble their advocacy for federal funding during the appropriations process. To date, Georgia taxpayers have already invested the state’s full local share to SHEP, amounting to roughly $266 million, and the state’s FY 2019 budget includes an additional $35 million to ensure its completion by 2021. A timely completion of this effort will ensure resources are allocated efficiently and taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately, while making a major step forward for our national infrastructure as more, larger ships will be able to navigate through the Port of Savannah and more quickly move goods through our nation.