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3/14/2019



Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Trump includes Charleston Harbor deepening project in FY20 budget


The deepening project is a strategic priority for the state and regional economy, according to SCPA President Jim Newsome.
Photo – scspa.com

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President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal-year 2020 budget includes $138 million for the 52-foot deepening project at Charleston Harbor, the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) announced yesterday.

Inclusion in the president's budget makes the project eligible for direct appropriations by Congress through the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill this year, port authority officials said in a press release.

"Federal funding at such a high level reflects the importance of our project to the nation and supports the continued progress of construction to 52 feet," said SCPA Chairman Bill Stern.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recalculation of the benefit-to-cost ratio (BCR) to a new score of 6.4 last fall allowed the project to meet the threshold for consideration in Trump's budget. The new BCR was driven primarily by SCPA's container cargo volume growth, which outpaced estimates used in the original 2012 study, port authority officials said.

The deepening project is a strategic priority for the state and regional economy, said SCPA President Jim Newsome.

"Our deepening project answers the need for a southeastern port to handle 14,000 to 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent container unit vessels drafting 50 feet or more without significant depth and other navigation restrictions," he said.

Construction work began on the harbor's entrance channel in February 2018. Deepening the harbor up to SCPA's busiest container terminal, the Wando Welch, is expected by early 2021.

The state port facilities in Charleston are served by Palmetto Railways, with connections to CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway.



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