South Carolina port officials say congressional passage of a new water resources bill smooths the way for deepening Charleston Harbor.
The bill passed the Senate on Thursday after clearing the House earlier this week.
It will allow deepening of the Charleston Harbor shipping channel to begin with state money and allows the state Ports Authority to seek federal reimbursement. Maritime interests want the harbor deepened to at least 50 feet to handle a new generation of larger container ships.
The Corps of Engineers is expected to issue its final report next year on the project expected to cost more than $300 million.
Authority president and CEO Jim Newsome calls the new law crucial to harbor projects nationwide. Board Chairman Bill Stern says it's incredibly important for state and the nation.