As Congress prepares to vacate DC for the Holidays and make way for newly elected members, a final vote has shown a split within the Georgia delegation over the Water Resources Development Act.
Tom Graves, a potential statewide candidate from Northwest Georgia, voted yes due to the opportunity to complete funding for the Port of Savannah and to begin exploring expansion at Brunswick. From his press release:
“The nation’s waterways serve as engines for economic growth and job creation,” said Rep. Graves. “That’s no different in Georgia, where the Port of Savannah contributes $174 million in annual net benefits to the United States and supports 21,000 American businesses. This bill ensures the Port of Savannah continues to thrive by authorizing the resources necessary to keep the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project on schedule – a top economic priority for Georgia.”
The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project deepens the Savannah Harbor federal shipping channel from a depth of -42 feet to -47 feet. The extra depth will allow an additional 3,600 cargo containers in each transit.
The bill also authorizes a feasibility study of a navigation project in Brunswick Harbor, which could lead to additional investment and economic growth.
Meanwhile, Congressman Rick Allen of Augusta feels like his constituents were left out of the bill, and voted no. His release:
“This legislation fails to address the needs and concerns of my district back home in Georgia-12, specifically relating to the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam. Myself, along with stakeholders in the community, worry that the bill language is not a long-term solution to the future of this project. For this reason, I voted against S. 612 and will continue to work hand-in-hand with the community to produce a plan that all parties involved feel confident in.”
Allen was the only member of the Georgia delegation to vote against the bill. Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-Retirement) did not vote.