Senator Lindsey Graham says the study to look at deepening the Port of Charleston is needed—and badly.
If we don’t deepen the harbor we put this port at risk. Two hundred and sixty thousand jobs are directly or indirectly related to the Port of Charleston being viable and effective and competitive. So, in the continuing resolution to fund the government until September 30 of this year, the Congress in its impotent wisdom could not allow language to be placed in the bill that would allow this port to be deepened to create the jobs that we desperately need.
The study would test the effectiveness of deepening the Charleston harbor from 47 to 50 feet, bringing in larger ships and creating more business. Many larger cargo ships would come from the Panama Canal, which is set for completion in 2014. Graham says the process needs to happen quickly, so the state can take these ships.
He says he is now going to the Senate floor with his armor on.
You have this administration talking about doubling exports and they invest zero into the Charleston Harbor. You have Congress talking about creating jobs is the number one goal of Congress and they can’t find $50,000 to allow the study to go forward in Charleston that would generate thousands of jobs in the future. To say that we are disappointed is an understatement, but to say that we are going to fight back is absolutely what we are going to do.
The senator says he’s not going to make it easy on the U.S. Senate.
I’m going to make it very difficult to do business as usual in the Senate because any system that does not allow this port to be deepened has lost its way. Any form of government that doesn’t allow this harbor to be deepened is to me not good government. So, this is a defining moment for history of the port, for the future of the port.
By Graham’s side in Charleston Tuesday, 1st District Congressman Tim Scott says he wants to find another way to fund the study, but without earmarks. Graham says he couldn’t think of a better person to fight this fight with.
From my point of view, Tim Scott as a very new member of Congress has shown leadership unlike anyone I have met since I have been in Congress on this issue. Tim has been on the phone all weekend lobbying his side of the isle, the House. I’ve been working the Senate, we’ve been working together. I just want the people of Charleston to know, the people of South Carolina to know, that the congressman representing this district gets it.
Neighboring Port of Savannah received $600,000 in federal funding, but Charleston did not receive any funding for the port’s deepening.
*Audio courtesy of Senator Graham’s office.