Updated: Haley to join Biden, U.S. transportation chief at Charleston port Monday
Vice President Joe Biden will make an official vist to Charleston on Monday to discuss exports and the harbor deepening project.
The nation’s second-in-command, a Democrat, will be joined by Republican Gov. Nikki Haley at the S.C. State Ports Authority’s Columbus Street Terminal on the peninsula around 11:30 a.m., Haley’s office announced.
Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx also is expected to attend.
Biden’s visit comes as South Carolina officials are seeking federal dollars to help deepen Charleston Harbor for larger cargo ships that the Panama Canal will be able to handle after an expansion of the manmade waterway is completed in 2015.
Charleston is second leg of a three port tour for Biden, who is also scheduled to visit Port of Savannah on Monday.
Like other East Coast ports, Charleston and Savannah are seeking funding to deepen their harbors in order to accommodate a growing wave of heavy, supersized ships.
Earlier this week, Biden visited the Port of Baltimore, where he awarded a $10 million federal grant for expanding access to its harbor.
President Barack Obama included Savannah and Charleston last year on a list of port projects that are worthy of expediting. But Washington has had trouble finding money for such projects amid budget battles focused on cutbacks and deficit reduction.
The SPA wants to deepen Charleston Harbor to 50 feet. The project is being studied by the Army Corps of Engineers and the dredging is expected to be completed as early as 2019.
The $300 million to $350 million cost of the project is being shared by the state and the federal government.
Reach Tyrone Richardson at 937-5550 and follow him on Twitter @tyrichardsonPC.