Savannah won’t build cruise ship terminal

Savannah was studying several sites along its waterfront for a new cruise ship terminal before mixing the deal. (AP/File)

David Goldman

A proposal to build a cruise ship terminal with taxpayer money in Savannah appears to have sunk.

The Savannah City Council voted unanimously Thursday to stop further work on studying where and how to build the estimated $70 million cruise ship dock. They city had already spent more than $250,000 studying the idea.

Public opposition to the project has been growing, with critics saying cruise ships would add to pollution and traffic congestion in Georgia’s oldest city. They feared passengers coming-and-going to the ships wouldn’t deliver a worthwhile boost in tourism dollars.

After hearing from concerned residents at its regular meeting, the council voted against moving forward with the next phase of the study, which was expected to cost an additional $82,000.

The Savannah termimal would have competed for business with Charleston, where Carnival Cruise Lines has offered has offered regularly scheduled cruises almost year-round since 2010 on its 2,056-passenger ship Fantasy.

The arrival of that business has triggered a backlash among some downtown Charleston residents and preservation groups over the increased traffic congestion, noise and air pollution. Three cruise-related lawsuits are working their way through the court system.