CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - One of the biggest and closest competitors for Charleston's port may now have an advantage at landing federal funds.
Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood has thrown his support behind the deepening of Savannah harbor.
He's promising to do what he can to get federal funding to deepen 35-miles of the Savannah River. He says the 600-million dollar project "has to happen" because it will create jobs.
Lahood's endorsement could help Savannah stand out in Washington among competing ports also seeking money for deeper water that includes Charleston.
Savannah wants to deepen its port for the same reason Charleston does, to stay competitive and make room for super-sized ships expected when the Panama Canal finishes a major expansion in 2014.
Charleston's port employs hundreds of thousands of people in the state and pumps $45 billion a year into the economy.