The head of the South Carolina State Ports Authority is now asking a congressional committee to consider Senator Lindsey Graham’s port funding proposal. Last week, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee heard testimonies about the nation’s seaports and the benefits they have on the economy. In South Carolina, Senator Lindsey Graham says deepening the Charleston port from 47 to 50 feet is crucial for the economic growth of the state. He says the project would allow for the larger cargo ships to come through the port when the Panama Canal opens in 2014.
President and CEO of the State Ports Authority Jim Newsome says Congress needs to make sound decisions when it comes to upgrading the nation’s ports. Newsome then outlined a plan for a national strategy–while asking a congressional committee to adopt Graham’s proposal that would include additional funding provisions for port studies to continue. His plan would also give the Corps of Engineers more power to evaluate more infrastructure projects. Graham says ports along the east coast will need to adjust and failing to do so could make Charleston a backwater port. He says that could destroy the state’s economy because one in five jobs in South Carolina is connected to the state’s ports.