President Barack Obama appeared on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” Tuesday and used his televised interview with Jay Leno to plug Charleston and two other Southeastern ports seeking federal funds to deepen the waterways that cargo ships navigate.
In 2015, the Panama Canal will finish a major expansion that will give supersized cargo ships a shortcut between the U.S. and Asia. The President said U.S. ports on the East and Gulf coasts need deeper harbors to stay competitive.
“If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf, in places like Charleston, South Carolina; or Savannah, Georgia; or Jacksonville, Florida; if we don’t do that those ships are going to go someplace else,” he said during his appearance. “And we’ll lose jobs, businesses won’t locate here,” says Obama.
President Obama said all three states are at risk of losing access to growing export markets overseas if they can’t accommodate larger ships. Plus, he said there are a lot of people who need jobs that can work to deepen these harbors.
“We’ve got a bunch of construction workers who aren’t working right now. They’ve got the skills. They want to get on the job. It would have a huge impact on the economy, not just now, but well into the future.”
Watch the interview with Jay Leno HERE