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SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Atlanta's mayor says he expects Congress to soon clear a bureaucratic hurdle to deepening Savannah's harbor.

Mayor Kasim Reed spoke to reporters Thursday after returning from a trip to Panama with Vice President Joe Biden. Savannah and other U.S. seaports are racing to make room for supersized cargo ships expected to start using an expanded Panama Canal in 2015.

Before the $652 million Savannah harbor expansion can begin, Congress must raise a 1999 spending cap on the project. The House and Senate have approved bills, but still must agree on a final version.

Reed says Georgia officials are working to make sure the Savannah harbor provision remains in the final bill, which he expects to go to the president by Dec. 31.