ICYMI: Savannah Morning News: Mayor Johnson: ‘Passing Biden infrastructure deal vital to strengthening Savannah port’

July 12, 2021

Mayor Johnson: ‘It’s time for both parties in Washington to take bold action, deliver the investments our infrastructure needs, and make Savannah stronger by passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.’ 

Today, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson penned an op-ed in the Savannah Morning News praising President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework – the largest investment in our country’s infrastructure in a century – and urging Georgia’s members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to put aside partisanship and invest in Savannah and Georgia’s future. 

Mayor Johnson is just one local Georgia leader touting the Framework; last week, Union City Mayor Vince Williams praised the proposal in an op-ed, as the mayors of Augusta, Brunswick, Columbus, Union City, and East Point came together to stress the need for Congress to pass Biden’s plan. 

Read Mayor Van Johnson’s op-ed:

Mayor: Passing Biden infrastructure deal vital to strengthening Savannah port

Savannah Morning News // July 12, 2021

As the single largest and fastest-growing container terminal in America, the Port of Savannah is an anchor of Georgia’s economy. But in order to compete and win in the 21st century marketplace, we need to invest in the expansion and growth of our harbor.

The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, introduced by President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators, provides those investments we sorely need. It is the key to creating good-paying union jobs, building back a vibrant economy, and making Savannah home to one of the strongest port systems in the world for years to come. 

As Savannah’s mayor, I’ve seen firsthand how essential Georgia’s deepwater and inland ports are. They employ over 400,000 workers and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in sales, and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. And while our city continues to recover from the economic and health tolls of the pandemic, our ports have seen impressive growth, handling 478,620 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containerized cargo in May — an increase of 41.9% over May of last year.

The might and resilience of the Savannah harbor will continue to exceed expectations, but with more and increasingly large container ships calling at the Garden City Terminal, it’s clear that we need the infrastructure to keep up with demand and boost our global competitiveness. 

Federal action on infrastructure is long overdue. The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project has set the framework for development since the 1990s. Yet today, the project remains unfinished, awaiting federal funding critical to its completion this year. President Biden’s bipartisan $1.2 trillion framework – the largest infrastructure investment in nearly a century –  includes $16 billion for ports and waterways, which will provide that much-needed funding, stimulate economic growth right here in Savannah, and deliver transformational results for our city and state.

With support from both Democrats and Republicans, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework won’t raise a cent from Americans earning below $400,000 — that means no gas tax increase and no fee on electric vehicles.  

The president’s bipartisan plan will also enhance our rail network’s competitive edge. Our 5,000 miles of track, the most extensive rail system in the Southeast, stands to gain significantly from the $66 billion laid out in the plan for passenger and freight rail across the country. Wholistic investments in all of our infrastructure — from ports to rail — position our city, state, and country to win big in the global economy, address climate change, and directly improve the lives of millions of Americans by providing good-paying jobs. 

President Biden came into office promising to find common ground to get things done — and he’s delivering on that promise. Strengthening our ports, rail, and infrastructure is something we can all agree on and provides a unique opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to come together to deliver for the American people.

It’s time for both parties in Washington to take bold action, deliver the investments our infrastructure needs, and make Savannah stronger by passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework. 

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