The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which authorizes the "development and maintenance of the nation’s waterway infrastructure, among other critical projects," a spokesman says.
The legislation includes a provision that authorizes the funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. This provision will end a 14 year delay of the project to deepen the harbor from 42 to 47 feet in order to accommodate new supertankers that will be coming from the Panama Canal.
All 14 House members of the Georgia Congressional delegation voted for WRRDA, and both of Georgia’s senators voted for the senate version of the bill earlier this year.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah), who is now running for U.S. Senate, said, "Georgia’s deep water ports support 352,000 jobs in our state and service more than 21,000 companies throughout the country. Passage of this bill is a critical step toward ensuring this economic engine can continue its vital role in our regional and national economy. Deepening the harbor will free up $213 million in private capital each year that can be invested in job creation and business expansion."
President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers have deemed the Port of Savannah a “nationally and regionally significant infrastructure project.”
On May 15, 2013, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the bill by a vote of 83-14. The House and Senate must reconcile their differences before sending a final bill to the president to sign into law.