The proposed Trump budget keeps on track the project to deepen Charleston Harbor, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said in a news release on Wednesday.
“The $17.5 million for Charleston in the Army Corps of Engineers FY 2017 Work Plan keeps us on track for accelerated completion of the project,” said Graham in a news release.
Deepening the harbor is needed to accommodate the growing number of large ships used by industry in 2017. The project was determined to be in the nation’s interest in a report by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 2011.
In a statement released Wednesday evening, South Carolina governor Henry McMaster acknowledged the stiff competition for limited resources in the proposed federal budget.
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He called the allocation a “major breakthrough” for the state.
“Our competitive edge in the world's economy just got stronger," he said.
The South Carolina General Assembly set aside $300 million in 2012 to cover the state’s share of the project. The US Army Corps of Engineers gave final approval for the project in September 2015.
Graham said South Carolina’s willingness to put its own money up to “forward-fund’ the project proved to federal authorities the state was serious about finishing the project quickly.
When completed, the harbor will be the deepest East Coast harbor at 52 feet deep in the main channel and 54 feet deep in the entrance channel.
In addition to deepening the harbor, the South Carolina Ports Authority plans to spend $1.3 billion over 10 years to build a new container terminal, and update existing facilities with new technology, the SCPA said on its web site.