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Georgia, South Carolina will share new port

POSTED: August 9, 2008 5:00 a.m.
SAVANNAH —— The port authorities in Georgia and South Carolina will share ownership of the Jasper Ocean Terminal site, under plans set for approval soon.
The Georgia Ports Authority Board of Directors on Monday unanimously approved the acquisition of 1,518 acres of land for the development on the Savannah River. The South Carolina State Ports Authority Board is set to consider a similar resolution at its regular meeting in Charleston on Tuesday.
The property, which is in South Carolina but currently owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation, will be paid for and owned jointly by the SCSPA and the GPA. The land transfer could close by July 28.
"The acquisition approved today by the Georgia Ports Authority is the next step toward realizing the great potential for international trade and commerce in this region," said Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.  "By creating the right conditions for growth and prosperity, we ensure new jobs and opportunity for many years to come."
"Our two ports authorities assuming joint ownership of the Jasper site is an incredibly significant and tangible step in moving forward on this port facility," South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford said. "Growing our port capacity is critical to our ability to compete in an increasingly global economy, and I again want to thank everyone involved in this process for their hard work in getting us to this point."
The land transfer is in accordance with the Intergovernmental Agreement signed by the SCSPA, the GPA and the GDOT in January 2008. This Agreement formalized that the two states would work cooperatively to develop a new marine terminal on the Savannah River in Jasper County.
The Agreement further specifies that GPA's interest in the property will be transferred to the Bi-State Compact Authority upon its creation and commencement of business activities. The purchase price is $5,000 per acre, also specified in the agreement.
"We are excited about the prospect of the Jasper Ocean Terminal," said Steve Green, GPA's chairman of the board. "This is a critical step in a process that will require a sound business development plan and thorough analysis of environmental impacts."
"The Jasper Ocean Terminal site is just a few miles from the open ocean, offering tremendous potential to attract good jobs and more economic activity to the region," said David J. Posek, chairman of the SCSPA.
"We look forward to making progress with Georgia on other fronts, such as removal of federal dredge disposal easements on the property."
Under the inter-governmental agreement, the Jasper Ocean Terminal Joint Project Office, was formed to move the project forward. The agreement initiated a number of specific steps, such as feasibility studies, business planning, environmental assessments and the release of federal easements on the property.
The JPO's work will eventually result in a detailed proposal for consideration by both states.  This bi-state compact, which must be approved by each state's General Assembly and the U.S. Congress, would cover the financing and operation of the project, as well as other issues.
Georgia's deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 286,476 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $14.9 billion in income, $55.8 billion in revenue and $2.8 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia's bustling economy.
 

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