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House approves funds for harbor deepening construction
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — An appropriations bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives includes $588,000 in construction funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to advance the deepening of the Savannah Harbor.
Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., said Thursday the money is construction instead of planning.
“Although it is a relatively small amount of initial funding, the key is these are construction dollars, not planning or study funds,” he said.
“Supporting that shift from the planning to the implementation stage is critical to keeping the project on schedule and ready to start when it gets the final green light.”
Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., said the port deepening is simply something that has to happen.
“Deepening this port has been one of my top priorities because it’s vital for long-term job growth in Georgia,” he said.
“I’m happy to see any additional funding for this project, and I’ll continue to work with Jack and every member of Georgia’s delegation to see that we complete this project.”
The interagency Record of Decision, which formally approves and in effect commences the construction phase of the project, is expected to be completed mid-2012. 
Having federal funds ready, along with existing state funds, puts the port in a prime position for begin work quickly, according to lawmakers. 
This funding also helps pave the way for the President Barack Obama to request the full construction funding requirement for fiscal 2013.
“The entire Georgia Congressional delegation, along with the governor, has asked the administration to include the next, much larger allotment we need when they submit their 2013 budget in February.” said Kingston “Working together, we can be sure this port is ready and competitive in the new jumbo ship Panamax world.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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