SC Senate approves covering federal share of port

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - The Senate has given key approval to a bill allowing South Carolina to borrow $120 million to deepen the Charleston harbor if the federal government doesn't pay its share.

The Senate approved 40-3 a bill authorizing the state to issue bonds if necessary to cover the federal share of the expected $300 million dredging project.

The vote came after Sen. Kevin Bryant removed his objection. But another vote is needed to send the bill to the House, and Bryant is holding that up unless Senate leaders agree to pay down a corresponding amount of debt elsewhere.

Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman says he'll work with Bryant overnight. He says the bill is critical for South Carolina's economy.

The House included $180 million in its budget to fund South Carolina's share.

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