The Obama Administration denied the Port of Charleston $400,000 for a deepening project study, and now, Senator Lindsey Graham is trying another tactic. Graham’s new bill introduces merit based money for the Port of Charleston…meaning the port and any other project has to prove itself worthy of the federal funding.
We made the case that it is the best export port on the East Coast.
The plan is to deepen the Charleston harbor from 47 to 50 feet, adding larger ships to the port, meaning more business.
Graham says the deepening would have such a great impact on the port and state economy. He says Charleston is a sure bet when you compare to other ports.
I want the Corps of Engineers to look at all of the ports on the East Coast, report back to congress which ones do you recommend go to 50 feet, then come up with the funding to do so, that’s what we will start in 2012.
Graham says federal funding is needed because the project is too large for state funding–alone.
It’s going to cost $350 million and South Carolina cannot afford to do that on our own.
Graham does have the assurance of state Senate Finance chair Hugh Leatherman that the state would match federal money for the port project.
Senator Graham told WCIV-TV that the Port of Charleston means too much to the state to sit and do nothing.
260,000 jobs a year are created by the Port of Charleston. It would be a disaster in South Carolina to let this port fail, and we are not going to let that happen.
Graham held a press conference after meeting with port leaders Monday.