Congressional Delegation Pens Letter To Federal Budget Office Over Savannah Port Funding

first_img ‘It’s Fractured’: Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan On Healing Republican Party For Whom The Bell Rings The state’s 16-member congressional delegation penned a letter Thursday to the head of the Federal Office of Management and Budget in response to President Barack Obama leaving out construction funding for the Port of Savannah deepening in his 2015 budget proposal.As heard on the radio0:50In a letter to OMB Director Sylvia Burwell, Georgia’s two Republican senators, nine Republican representatives and five Democratic representatives said they were quote “disappointed” by the office’s construction funding omission for the estimated $650 million Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP).The delegation said construction should be funded this year because language in a federal spending bill signed by the president in January labeled it “an ongoing construction project.”“With a cost-benefit ratio of 5.5 to 1 and an annual net benefit to the nation of $174 million, SHEP has wide support. The President and Vice President have joined the entire Georgia delegation, the Governor of Georgia, Mayor of Atlanta, and countless local leaders in their strong support of SHEP,” the delegation wrote. The delegation called on the president to finalize an agreement allowing the project to move forward.Congressional and state lawmakers have been reeling since the president released his budget proposal Tuesday, which only allocated $1.62 million for further study of the project.Governor Nathan Deal has said the state will move forward on the project with the $266 million Georgia has set aside.The question remains whether the state can legally do that without federal authorization.Read the entire letter below: Dear Ms. Burwell:           We were very disappointed by your agency’s lack of support for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP).Our delegation is united in the belief that this project should have been funded under the explicit guidance provided to the executive branch through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. In this legislation, we included construction funds for SHEP (which we have done since fiscal year 2009), a two-year Section 902 waiver, and language explicitly stating that SHEP was to be considered in construction for the budget process. This legislation was signed by the President on January 17 of this year and had a clear directive: fund SHEP.With a cost-benefit ratio of 5.5 to 1 and an annual net benefit to the nation of $174 million, SHEP has wide support. The President and Vice President have joined the entire Georgia delegation, the Governor of Georgia, Mayor of Atlanta, and countless local leaders in their strong support of SHEP. The President included the Port of Savannah in his 2012 “We Can’t Wait” initiative, and just this fall, the Vice President visited Savannah, stating that we will complete SHEP “come hell or high water.” This project has been a priority for us, and the Governor and the Georgia General Assembly have allocated $256 million in state funds to be used for the state share of construction for SHEP. As the livelihood of this project has little alternative at this point, it is now imperative that the finalization of the Project Partnership Agreement with Georgia be completed as soon as possible and the Corps be allowed to utilize the state’s $266 million to initiate construction contracts this year. We intend to make this point clear to the Army Corps of Engineers as well.    We hope you would agree that stimulating our economy and creating new jobs through increased import and export trade is important. In order to accomplish that, we need to be serious about the construction of SHEP.Sincerely,United States Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)United States Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA)Representative Jack Kingston (GA-01)Representative Sanford Bishop (GA-02)                                               Representative Lynn Westmoreland  (GA-03)Representative Hank Johnson (GA-04)Representative John Lewis (GA-05)Representative Tom Price (GA-06)Representative Rob Woodall (GA-07)                                                Representative Austin Scott (GA-08)Representative Doug Collins (GA-09)                                               Representative Paul Broun (GA-10)Representative Phil Gingrey (GA-11)                                                 Representative John Barrow (GA-12)Representative David Scott (GA-13)                                                  Representative Tom Graves (GA-14) Share Related Stories Legal Advocate Discusses Medical Abuse At Shut Down Georgia ICE Facility 0:50 | Play story Add to My ListIn My List last_img read more