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Atlanta mayor, Gov. Deal to tour Port of Savannah

— Atlanta's mayor and the Georgia governor have announced plans to tour the Port of Savannah as state leaders continue pushing for an expansion project they say is critical to the region's economy.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will tour the port with Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood on Tuesday, the mayor said in a statement Friday.

This week, Georgia's long-sought plans to dredge the Savannah River to allow for larger ships was boosted when a board in South Carolina approved a compromise on a water quality permit allowing construction in the shared river channel.

Deepening more than 30 miles of the Savannah River from the Atlantic Ocean to the Savannah port would accommodate supersize cargo ships expected to sail through the Panama Canal after it completes an expansion in 2014.

Likewise, South Carolina officials are pushing to dredge Charleston harbor.

Even with Thursday's vote, Savannah's project is years away.

Deal credited his South Carolina Republican colleague, Gov. Nikki Haley, for helping to forge a compromise on the permit that would benefit the economies of both states.