SC congressional delegation pushes U.S. Army Corps for more Charleston Harbor project funding

SC congressional delegation pushes U.S. Army Corps for more Charleston Harbor project funding
A ship sits in port near Charleston Harbor (Source: Live 5/File)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The South Carolina congressional delegation has written a letter to the U.S. Army Corps Commanding General to ask for more funding for the Charleston Harbor deepening project.

The state funded $300 million of the project, which leaves the project $229 million short of the anticipated amount needed to fund the entire project.

Lawmakers ask for $90 million for the 2018 fiscal year in the letter, which is addressed to Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite and Assistant Secretary of the Army R.D. James.

The 52-foot Charleston Harbor Deepening Project is a model of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) SMART Planning process. The project is currently years ahead of schedule and under budget.  Local port officials secured an Advanced Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) with the Army Corps of Engineers to allow the use of local funds to cover construction   costs in the event of delays in federal funding.  However, these local funds will only go so far.

We greatly appreciate the USACE's naming Charleston a new construction start and allocating $17.5 million in the 2017 Work Plan. The Charleston Harbor Deepening project will set a new standard for future projects, demonstrating the effectiveness and success of both the SMART Planning process and committed non-federal entities. The extent to which the Charleston project defines projects moving forward cannot be undervalued. To this end, we respectfully encourage the USACE to include project funding of$90 million in the FY 2018 Work Plan- allowing the Charleston project to stay on time and on budget.

The letter is signed by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, as well as Lowcountry house reps. Jim Clyburn and Mark Sanford. The project officially kicked off last Friday. 

"What we're going to do is talk to President Trump," said Sen. Lindsey Graham said Friday. "[Tell him] that you've come up with an idea to help those states that have money in the game, skin in the game, to do infrastructure projects that will make a big difference. I can't think of a better example of what Trump wants to do than the Port of Charleston."