By BRUCE SMITH
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says he's never been more confident that the Charleston Harbor shipping channel will be deepened to 50 feet.
Graham met with reporters in Charleston on Friday with State Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome and an engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers
Graham says a water resources bill making its way through Congress includes a provision to allow the state to proceed to deepen the harbor with its own money and be reimbursed later by the federal government.
He says when the final studies are finished in 2015, work on design and construction could begin immediately.
Newsome says he hopes the channel can be deepened by the end of the decade.
South Carolina's General Assembly has approved $300 million for the project.