Mayor Riley, President Obama discuss Charleston Harbor deepening

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC)  - Mayor Joe Riley spoke with President Barack Obama in the White House on Thursday, stressing the importance of the Charleston Harbor Deepening to jobs, exports and the national economy.

Mayor Riley was in Washington, D.C. for the US Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting and was one of 14 mayors invited to meet with the president to discuss how the administration can help create jobs and spur the economy.

"I could think of no better way the administration could help this city, this state and this region than by deepening Charleston Harbor," Mayor Riley said. "To expand exports and create jobs, the United States must have a true 50-foot harbor in the Southeast, capable of handling the biggest and most modern ships. "

Mayor Riley highlighted rapidly expanding exports and the administration's goal of doubling exports. He noted that the Southeast is home to more exporters than any other region in the country.

This past summer, the Corps determined a federal interest in Charleston Harbor's deepening and concluded,"Preliminary studies at other nearby harbors show that Charleston harbor would probably be the cheapest South Atlantic harbor to deepen to 50 feet."

Last month, Mayor Riley joined nearly 100 other mayors from South Carolina in signing a letter to the president about the importance of Charleston deepening, asking  to "fire up the dredges."

Mayor Riley said that the Charleston Harbor deepening would cost $300 million.

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