The expansion of Savannah's Harbor will bring jobs into central Georgia, drive the state's economy, and strengthen a global gateway for trade.
The project would widen Savannah's harbor and deepen it by seven feet.
That's according to Georgia Port Authority's executive director, Curtis Foltz, who spoke to a crowd of about 50 Macon Area Chamber of Commerce members, local officials and companies at the Douglass Theatre this morning.
Already, the Port Authority sustains more than 350,000 full-time and part-time jobs, Foltz says, and that number is expected to double with the expansion of the Savannah Harbor.
Foltz says the project has received wide support on the local, state and federal levels.
President Obama is expected to sign off on the $652 million project within the month, he says.
In its current state, the harbor is the shallowest major port in the world and can't accommodate larger cargo ships, Foltz says.
That's important ahead of the Panama Canal's expansion, scheduled to finish next year.
Foltz says continuing to stall on the project isn't an option anymore.
"The expansion will happen," he said. "It's got to happen, it's as simple as that. I don't have time to worry about if it doesn't happen. We're gonna make it happen. Too many people are in support of it, the benefits are far too compelling, and the nation can't really afford for it not to happen."
Mayor Robert Reichert told 13WMAZ he plans to support the project on a local level, because the port's expansion will have an impact on Macon and middle Georgia.
"There is no doubt in my mind that the increase in activity in Savannah bodes well for middle Georgia to be the transportation and logistics hub of the Southeast," Reichert said. "I told [Foltz], 'Whatever we can do to help you up here, you just let us know.'"
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