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Fees should go to port maintenance
Other opinion
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Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., is trying to convince other members of Congress to do what’s necessary to make sure customs fees collected in the nation’s ports go toward their upkeep. It’s perfect sense to rational people, to dedicate revenue generated by ports to their proper maintenance.

That includes the shipping channel that serves the Port of Brunswick, which right now has a few issues. Silt stirred up by tropical storms and northeast winds this year is robbing the underwater path to terminals here of needed depth. In some areas it is less than the 36 feet authorized by the federal government.

That can be an obstacle to large ships calling on the port. Time is money to them, and if they have to base their arrival and departure on the rise and fall of tides, they might decide to take their business elsewhere.

The Port of Brunswick could use those fees about now. The Army Corps of Engineers estimates it will cost $8 million to restore the depth along the channel to 36 feet. Unfortunately, it has only $5 million for the project.

This follows a recent announcement by Gov. Nathan Deal that he will ask the state General Assembly to OK $50 million in state funding for the deepening of the Savannah Port.

The hope is that the federal government is going to pick up the lion’s share of the $650 million it will cost to add four feet of depth to Savannah’s 42-foot deep channel.

Brunswick is the state’s only other deep-water port. Like Savannah, it, too, contributes to Georgia’s economy. An unobstructed channel is vital to the port’s present and future and to the oodles of jobs it helps to sustain.

— the Brunswick News

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