Mayor pleased with $3.5 million funding for harbor-dredging study

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC/AP) - Mayor Joe Riley has issued a statement following the release of President Barack Obama's 2013 budget proposal, which includes $3.5 million to continue the study of deepening the Charleston Harbor shipping channel.

Mayor Riley said, "I would like to thank President Obama for his personal interest in ensuring that funding for the deepening of Charleston Harbor is contained in his 2013 budget.  The deepening of Charleston's Harbor is critically important to our port, our community, our region, and our state's economic success in the future.  A deepened harbor translates into jobs in our community and throughout South Carolina and is a great benefit to businesses in this part of our country."

He continued, "I met with President Obama in January 2011 to stress the cost effectiveness of the deepening of Charleston Harbor and its importance not only to our region but to our country.  Last month, I had the opportunity to meet with President Obama in the White House again and urged the inclusion of the Charleston Harbor Deepening in his 2013 budget.  The President had clearly been following this initiative and affirmed his support and at that time stated that it would be included in his budget."

"I wish also to thank Congressman Jim Clyburn and Senator Lindsey Graham who both worked very hard to ensure that the deepening of Charleston Harbor be included in our national budget.  I also want to thank and congratulate Jim Newsome and the South Carolina State Ports Authority team for their tremendous hard work, which was essential for today's announcement to be possible."

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham spoke with reporters Monday, just hours after the budget was released.

Graham says if the money is approved, the $20 million study can continue without uncertainty over funds.

Last week Graham announced a similar amount of money has been included to continue the study this year. That money wasn't included in the president's budget for this fiscal year but came from an account that a bipartisan group of lawmakers created in a federal appropriations bill.

The Army Corps of Engineers is conducting the study needed before the $300 harbor million deepening project can start.

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