New funding for Savannah Harbor Project could mean jobs, more for the midstate


MACON, Ga. -- More federal funding is expected for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP).

The billion-dollar plan is the largest active infrastructure project in Georgia and could have a big impact on the midstate once it's completed.

In February, WGXA reported that Georgia was paying more than its original share for SHEP and that the federal government hadn't contributed what it promised to.

This week, the US Army Corps of Engineers pledged $35 million to the project in this year's budget.

On top of that, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that would provide $700 million for SHEP. If the bill is approved by the Senate and the President, it could have a big impact on the midstate.

"Our hope would be that we would bring new jobs, more industry and manufacturing," said Heath Taylor, president and CEO of the Dublin-Laurens County Chamber of Commerce.

Taylor sees Dublin as an ideal spot for growth with the expectations that the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project will bring more shipments and work to Georgia.

"I don't think there's a new community, we don't feel, that's in a greater position to benefit from the work that's going on at the port," he said.

Interstate 16 passes right through Dublin, connecting the shipments passing through the Savannah Port to the rest of the country.

"We could change the entire footprint of what Dublin and Laurens County look like, if we could bring a new tire manufacturer, or a new warehouse space or whatever the industry would be," Taylor said.

With additional federal funding, the $1 billion expansion project is set to be finished by 2021.

"Finally, the port of Savannah will receive long overdue investment from the federal government," said Senator David Perdue.

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