Port officials hoping for federal money for Charleston Harbor study

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Since the president didn't include the port's requested money in his budget, port officials are hoping federal money will come through for the study in at least one of two ways; either from a work plan with the US Army Corps or money earmarked by Congress members.

South Carolina port officials are now saying they're waiting to see if federal money can be earmarked to get a study started on whether Charleston Harbor can be deepened.

"All these projects have been done with earmarks up to recently. It remains to be seen what happens going forward. I think a lot of projects are not being funded now because there isn't an earmark system. I think that's not going to be acceptable," SPA President Jim Newsome said.

This comes along with a statement by South Carolina US Senator Lindsey Graham supporting the earmarking of the federal money for the port's study, despite him speaking out in the past against earmarks.

"I am for earmark reform. I do believe earmarks have been abused by Congress in the past. But the idea of allowing the executive branch to spend all the money we have without congressional input, as you can see, from the Port of Charleston is problematic. This is a necessary fight," said Sen. Graham.

The US Army Corps of Engineers says the feasibility study would determine just how deep the Charleston Harbor could be dredged and it would be used to recommend a plan for any changes to Congress.

Lisa Metheney, a project manager at the US Army Corps of Engineers, says just to complete a harbor deepening study would take anywhere from four to eight years and cost millions of dollars.

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