Saturday, June 22, 2013

'Harbor deepening will happen'


Savannah Morning News
Mary Mayle
May 24, 2013 
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed cut right to the chase.
“I know a lot of you are worried because you didn’t get what you were expecting (for harbor deepening) in the president’s budget proposal,” he told the sold-out crowd of more than 750 gathered Thursday for the Savannah Economic Development Authority’s annual luncheon.
“I’m here to tell you don’t be concerned a bit,” he said. “This is going to happen. We’re doing things in an orderly fashion, and we’re making real progress.”
In the last year, Reed said, the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project has received more than 100 approvals across four different federal departments.
“Now the Water Resource Development Act, currently in the House, contains language to authorize the spending levels needed,” he said. “When that goes through, you’re going to see things move quickly.”
Reed said he spent about four hours with President Obama when he came to Atlanta recently.
“I was ready to bring up the issue, but I didn’t have to,” he said. “The president brought it up himself, specifically mentioning the Port of Savannah.”
Reed, a Democrat, recalled going to Washington several years ago with then-Georgia Ports chairman Steve Green, a Republican, to talk about harbor deepening. When people in the administration got past the fact they were on the same page, they wondered what concern the mayor of Atlanta had with a port in Savannah.
“I told them it was simple,” he said. “I get it.”
Now, a lot other people are starting to get it as well, he said.
“With Atlanta’s world class airport and Savannah’s world class port, Georgia has the potential to become the logistics hub of the Western Hemisphere,” Reed said, noting that, as more obstacles are overcome, that vision comes closer to reality.
“So don’t be discouraged,” he said. “Let’s not get tired and miss the moment, y’all.
“This new spirit of cooperation over conflict will do more to end the notion of two Georgias than anything else.
“And always know you have a friend in me.”