Ag News

SHEP gets full funding from federal government

Through a combination of funds from the U.S. Army Civil Works Program and federal appropriations, the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) will receive $85 million in federal money toward construction costs through the end of FY 2018.

On June 11, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its FY 2018 Work Plan, which included $35 million for SHEP. The federal budget includes $50 million for the project, which is increasing the depth of the Savannah Harbor shipping channel from 42 feet to 47 feet. The expansion will allow the Port of Savannah to accommodate larger cargo ships now coming through the Panama Canal. The increased capacity is expected to reduce shipping costs for Georgia farmers and agribusinesses selling products to foreign markets.

The project requires between $88 million and $110 million annually to stay on schedule for completion in 2021.

The state of Georgia partnered with the federal government to pay for the project. The state has allocated its full share of $266 million of the $973 total price tag.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House passed H.R. 8 (the Water Resources Development Act) on June 6 and H.R. 5895 (the 2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill) on June 8. H.R. 8 allocates $677 million for SHEP and H.R. 5896 provides $49 million for SHEP in FY 2019.

“The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is the top economic development project for Georgia and the entire Southeast, as it solidifies our state and region as a central business hub for the 21st Century,” said Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “The funding authorized and appropriated by these bills are key to keeping the expansion project on schedule.”