The President's FY 2014 Budget once again includes funds to continue Charleston's Post-45 harbor deepening project.
This project was designated last year by the Administration as one of its priority infrastructure projects. The recently released fiscal year 2014 budget includes a $1.165-million allocation to continue the considerable progress on the project's feasibility study, now at its midpoint.
With 45 feet of depth at mean low water, Charleston currently has the deepest channels in the region and can handle ships drafting up to 48 feet on high tide. Deepening Charleston Harbor to 50 feet will open the port to handling larger post-Panamax container ships 24 hours a day.
"We are grateful to the Administration for including Charleston's project in the budget for a second year in a row, as well as their commitment of resources to expeditiously advance our project," said Bill Stern, chairman of the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) Board of Directors. "This funding means that Charleston's study can proceed to completion with absolutely zero funding restraints, as both the federal and the port's contributions have been fully committed at this point."
The feasibility study is cost-shared 50/50 between the federal government and the SCPA, which committed to accelerate its half of the study funds as needed to continue advancing the project. A national measure to modernize U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Civil Works projects targets completion of the feasibility study and necessary reviews by September 2015 at a cost of $13 million or less. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is scheduled to be released next year.
The President's Budget also included $14.825 million for maintenance dredging in Charleston Harbor.