Graham, Scott discuss status of port deepening money

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It looks like the study to deepen Charleston Harbor may be delayed another year. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Tim Scott said in a press conference Tuesday morning the Obama administration didn't set aside the $50,000 needed to do the study.

Earlier this year, Charleston was left off the list for some federal funding. That money would have been used for a study on deepening the harbor.

"If you think not deepening the Charleston harbor is good government, then you have the weirdest idea of good government I've ever seen," Graham said Tuesday.

State, local and federal officials say Charleston will lose out on business unless the harbor is deepened to at least 50 feet.

"Right now, a smaller-scope study would be $50,000," Graham said. "Next year, to continue the study, you're looking at $3 million."

Graham said that if President Barack Obama wants to double exports, then the harbor needs to be deepened.

"Administration has let us down by not putting money aside for deepening ports," he said.

Graham said that 260,000 jobs will be affected if the harbor isn't deepened. Sen. Graham also said that pushing back the study will put Charleston behind when the Panama Canal opens in 2014 and affect the 260,000 jobs related to SC ports.

Officials say to deepen the harbor 50 feet, it will take a three year study period, then three to four more years of planning and construction.

Copyright WCSC 2011. All rights reserved.