Georgia Governor Says Panama Canal Expansion Will Help State

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal speaks during a press conference as he announces he has vetoed legislation allowing clergy to refuse performing gay marriage and protecting people who refuse to attend the ceremonies, Monday, March 28, 2016, in Atlanta. The Republican rejected the bill on Monday, saying "I have examined the protections that this bill proposes to provide to the faith based community and I can find no examples of any of those circumstances occurring in our state." (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press
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Gov. Nathan Deal is calling a completed expansion of the Panama canal a “historic moment” for Georgia.

Georgia Ports Authority chairman Jimmy Allgood and other state officials attended Sunday’s opening of the $5.25 billion expansion. Officials say the expansion will also allow larger ships to pass, increasing efficiency.

Deal says the Port of Savannah is a top East Coast trading partner with the Panama canal.

A separate $706 million project to deepen the Savannah River between the port and the Atlantic Ocean to accommodate bigger cargo ships has been in the works since 1999. Georgia officials have been eager for dredging to start since Deal signed a final cost-sharing agreement with the Army Corps in 2014.

Deal says completion of that project is vital to the state’s economy.