Obama's 2015 budget earmarks money for ports - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Obama's 2015 budget earmarks money for ports

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WASHINGTON (WCIV) -- South Carolina Ports Authority officials say millions of dollars are on the way to the state's ports. The 2015 federal budget includes money for several projects, including finishing the study of deepening Charleston's harbor.

"We're always happy to see our name in the President's budget," said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. 

He believes money from next year's federal budget is crucial to completing the study on deepening Charleston Harbor. If that study is finished by September 2015, ports officials and engineers can begin the next phase.

"That's really what we're looking for is to move swiftly into construction. We need to be authorized to do so. And hopefully we get an appropriation eventually to pay for the federal share of our deepening project," said Newsome.

More than $1.5 million is earmarked for Charleston Harbor construction, and $13.1 million will go to operations and maintenance. Officials say this federal money, along with state funds, will prepare port facilities for the future.

"We're the only state that can say that its deepening project has the entire cost set aside in a bank account, both the state and the federal share. That sent a very powerful message to Washington also that we intend to realize this project," said Newsome.

Leaders with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are hopeful that if their studies are finished as planned by next September, the harbor's design and engineering phase can start.

"We really sharpen our pencils and get down to actually how to do it. So it's the drawings that we would hand to a third party contractor to go out there and do the dredging," said Brian Williams, project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

It's a complicated and costly investment in the local economy.

"This is all about teamwork. It's all about showing people that you work together, and that the state and the stakeholders believe in the project," said Newsome.

Ports officials say harbor funding recommendations need to be reviewed by Congress, but they're optimistic South Carolina's legislative delegation will help get it approved.

  • Bill Burr

    Email: bburr@abcnews4.com Reporter Profile

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