Editorial

8/30/2013

Port of Brunswick must be higher priority

The Port of Brunswick is unimportant. While he didn't say so directly, Col. Thomas Tickner, the new commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, might as well have when he said the port and its users will likely just have to live with the shallowing of the harbor channel.

Col. Tickner said as much to members of the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. He reiterated what many of them already know, that money in Washington, D.C. is tight these days and, seemingly, getting tighter by the day.

What that says is that other so-called priorities established by politicians take precedence over the safety of the shipping industry and commerce. The government has more pressing needs for our tax-dollars and the fees paid by shipping companies for using the port. They are so pressing, in fact, that the federal government and Congress appear to be willing to let a deepening project American taxpayers spent millions of dollars to complete a decade ago be wiped out by silt.

Is this what would happen if the state and Congress approve a figure approaching $1 billion to deepen Savannah's port? Would they just stand by and let silt take it over, too, and throw millions down the drain?

That's possible. It is if the Corps of Engineers and Congress plan to just turn their head to the wasting away of Brunswick's port. It's likely they would do the same in Savannah and everywhere else.

Congress needs to reassess its priorities. Giving aid to countries like China, for example, which is beating us into the ground trade-wise, is utterly ridiculous when senior citizens and projects important to commerce in the states are being pushed to the bottom of the budget.

It would seem that existing projects would be first on the list, like maintaining the channel depth in Brunswick, before spending a large fortune on another project - like deepenings in Charleston, Jacksonville and Savannah.

We're not saying it's not important to those harbors. It is to their communities and states, just like the health of the Brunswick port is important to Glynn County and the state.

It's not like foreign countries would stop flooding the United States with their products if East Coast harbors were unable to accommodate super large ships right away. Our national economy could only be so lucky.