New law likely cleared Savannah harbor roadblock

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The $1.1 trillion federal spending plan recently approved in Washington has little money for deepening the busy shipping channel to the port of Savannah, but it contains legal language that may prove more valuable.

Legislators from Georgia managed to insert provisions in the 1,582-page bill intended to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to begin construction after a 15-month delay. The changes temporarily suspend an outdated spending cap placed on the Savannah harbor expansion in 1999 and essentially reclassify it as a project that's under construction rather than one that remains under study.

Billy Birdwell, spokesman for the Army Corps' Savannah District, says the agency's Washington headquarters is reviewing the legal language.

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah says the wording is "so clear that even the government can understand it."

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