Carter seeks federal support for nation’s channel deepening projects

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) led his Georgia colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives in seeking “robust support” from congressional appropriators for America’s channel deepening projects.

Specifically, Rep. Carter and the Georgia delegation asked that sufficient federal funds be provided for deep draft navigation programs, including the $93.6 million requested in the fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills for continued construction of their home-state’s Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP).

“As you know from our outreach in years past, this project would deepen the Savannah River channel from 42 to 47 feet in order to accommodate Post Panamax vessels,” wrote Rep. Carter and the other lawmakers in a March 3 letter sent to U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), chairwoman of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies, and Subcommittee Ranking Member U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID).

“The appropriation of these funds is especially important this year because it will bring SHEP very close to completion after some two decades of bipartisan support by Congress,” according to their letter.

Rep. Carter and his colleagues wrote that on-time completion of the project’s construction is also nationally important because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that once fully operational, the deepened channel will deliver at least $282 million in annual transportation savings for American customers and shippers.

“That constitutes a value of $7.30 in net economic benefits for every dollar spent for construction — one of the highest benefit-cost ratios for any deep draft navigation project in the nation,” they wrote.

Additionally, the State of Georgia already has matched federal funding for the project by more than $300 million with another roughly $3 billion in state funding committed or spent for related landside infrastructure work, according to their letter.

“In light of all of the difficult decisions you must make on funding allocations for FY21, we thank you for your consideration of this request,” the letter said.