Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said Monday that as part of his fiscal year 2014 budget proposal, he will seek an additional $50 million in funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.
“I am committed to allocating funds and time to this pivotal link in our logistics network,” Deal said. “Expanding the Savannah Harbor is vital to our renewed economic growth and plays an integral role in helping make our state the No. 1 place in the nation in which to do business.”
If approved, the proposal will increase state funding for the deepening project to $231.1 million.
Overall, the cost of the project is anticipated to be $652 million. The record of decision, signifying final federal approval for the project, was issued in October by the Army Corps of Engineers, which the port said will allow construction to begin next year.
Deal's announcement follows a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Friday in Savannah to mark improvements of the Georgia Ports Authority’s expanded Mason Intermodal Container Transfer Facility.
The port said improvements will speed intermodal trains moving between the port and Atlanta.
GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz said the $6.5 million, 6,000-foot railyard extension will expand capacity, improve efficiencies and reduce costs for customers.
With the expansion, the Garden City Terminal’s two railyards, serving Class I rail providers Norfolk Southern and CSX, now feature a total of 46,921 linear feet of track
Previously, trains entered the Mason ICTF from the east and exited toward the west. This required trains to make a wide loop through Garden City. The expanded lines, working in conjunction with a "wye" installed by Norfolk Southern, will allow arriving trains to enter from the west. The cars will be switched on terminal, with trains later exiting toward the west. The new operation will avoid the use of 21 at-grade rail crossings and shave six hours from the roundtrip turn-times to Atlanta.
“This infrastructure investment helps prepare the Port of Savannah for projected increases in the share of container volumes moved via rail,” said GPA Board Chairman Robert Jepson. “Currently, 18 percent of Savannah’s container volume is moved by train.” - Chris Dupin