Mayor Reed Joins Vice President Joe Biden on Panama Trip

11/16/2013, 3:49 p.m.

ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed will travel to Panama with Vice President Joe Biden on Monday, November 18 to meet with President Ricardo Martinelli and to tour the Panama Canal expansion project.

This trip follows a September meeting where Mayor Reed and state leaders joined Vice President Biden at the Port of Savannah to highlight the importance of infrastructure investments in the United States to improve America's competitiveness, strengthen the middle class, and grow our economy.

The bipartisan delegation includes U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schulz of Florida, Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore.

“This trip marks a key milestone in our work to prepare for the expansion of the Panama Canal by deepening the Port of Savannah,” Mayor Kasim Reed said. “The port deepening will be Georgia’s largest economic development project and the positive impact on Atlanta cannot be overstated. The project will fuel the state, region and city’s economic growth, strengthen our global competitiveness and accelerate Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s expansion as a leading logistics and cargo hub.”

The state of Georgia has allocated $231 million toward the port deepening project’s cost, estimated at $662 million. Federal appropriation bills have passed both the Senate and House in recent months – Water Resources Development Act and Water Resources Reform and Development Act, respectively. A final, reconciled bill could be delivered to the White House for signature in early 2014.

“Groundbreaking on this project is within sight,” Mayor Reed added. “Getting a final bill to the President needs to be a priority for Congress. I am honored to be included in the bi-partisan delegation to Panama which sends a strong signal that leaders from both sides of the aisle are committed to strengthening America’s infrastructure.”