The long-suffering bipartisan campaign to secure a deepened Port of Savannah is going international this week as Georgia’s junior U.S. senator and the mayor of Atlanta schlep to Central America for a tour of the Panama Canal expansion project.
Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson and Democratic Mayor Kasim Reed will join on Monday a host of senior administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx, on the junket.
An expanded Panama Canal could mean big bucks for Georgia, but only if the Port of Savannah can accommodate the supersized cargo ships that will pass through the isthmus by mid-2015, by which time the canal project is expected to be completed.
The state is prepared to contribute in excess of $265 million to finance the project, but more funding and federal permits are needed before the project can be greenlit. Enter Isakson and Reed, who’ll lobby aggressively this week.
- James Richardson