Federal and state leaders celebrate moving forward on Charleston harbor deepening

National and state state leaders gathered this morning in Mount Pleasant to celebrate the deal passed in Washington that paves the way to begin the deepening of Charleston Harbor. 
Members of the US Senate and Congressmen presented a signed copy of the legislation that gives a green light to deepening Charleston harbor to 52 feet. That will help ensure Charleston can handle larger container ships and more business in future years. 
Senator Lindsey Graham says this is all about jobs. “1 in 11 jobs in South Carolina is connected to the port of Charleston.”
Leaders from Boeing, Volvo, BMW and others were on hand to emphasize just how critical the port’s capabilities are to jobs. The chairman and president of Michelin North America said without the Port of Charleston, Michelin would not even be in South Carolina. 
State Senator Larry Grooms Chairs the review and oversight commission for the state ports authority. He says cutting red tape means the deepening will be started in record time. “We’ve gone through the fast-tracking harbor deepening method with the corps of engineers.”
Grooms says he worked to cut red tape after the administrator of the Pamana Canal talked to him about 10 years ago saying, “If you don’t streamline your regulation and permitting process, you will kill your country. And he was right.”
Port CEO Jim Newsome says of the $509 million deepening cost, state money is ready. The next step is to re get some additional federal dollars. “We’ve got to, most importantly, get an appropriation in President Trump’s fiscal ’18 budget. If we get that, we can start forward spending the money that we have from the SC legislature.”
Newsome says they are hoping to begin the first actually deepening work by this December. 

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