U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District
Severe budget cuts in the federal portion of a $700 million plan to deepen the Savannah harbor challenges Georgia’s ability to take in the world’s largest cargo ships, the head of the Georgia Ports Authority said March 24.
Incoming Executive Director Griffith Lynch told local business leaders at the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Member Economic Luncheon that President Obama’s 2017 budget allocates only $43 million a year instead of the $90 million to $100 million officials say is needed to finish the project in five years.
“We were very happy to hear we were the most important project in the president’s budget, but it was only half of what we needed,” Lynch said. “We needed about $90 million to $100 million a year to complete the project by the year 2020, 2021."
Curtis Foltz, who has led the agency for the past six years, is stepping down effective June 30.
Known as the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, the deepening project will dredge about 24 million cubic yards from the Savannah River and harbor area. At its current depth, the harbor can’t accommodate the largest containerships unless they are only partially loaded.