U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, is in the Lowcountry today touring some of the region’s transportation infrastructure and meeting with local officials and manufacturers.

Shuster’s visit includes touring Port of Charleston and discussing ways to streamline processes to modernize seaports and improve the nation transportation system, officials said.

Shuster, R-Pa, is joined by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, U.S. Rep Jim Clyburn and Jim Newsome, chief executive of S.C. State Ports Authority.

The officials will speak with media at SPA’s downtown Charleston headquarters this afternoon.

Charleston is among several East Coast ports jockeying for federal dollars to dredge shipping lanes for larger vessels expected to flow from an expanded Panama Canal in 2015.

Shuster’s visit comes just days after Newsome spoke in Washington, D.C., before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation.

Newsome urged the panel to streamline federal spending on the nation’s commercial harbors by prioritizing the work and switching to a merit-based funding system.

The congressional panel is charged with helping shape the nation’s freight policy and funding.

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