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SC tab for Charleston dredging cut by a third

Project Updates // March 17, 2017

The Post & Courier reports that South Carolina’s share of the long-planned Charleston Harbour deepening has been slashed by as much as a third, even though the overall cost remains at more than half-a-billion dollars.

The catch is that the savings - US$82 million to as much as US$116 million - are far out on the horizon.

Jim Newsome, CEO of the State Ports Authority, said a new federal act recalculated the cost-sharing formula for the three-year project, now estimated to require US$525 million to complete. The change cut the state's portion to US$225 million from the latest projection of US$341 million. It also increased the federal contribution to US$300 million.

Lawmakers in Columbia put US$307 million in the bank several years ago to cover South Carolina's portion of the bill, according to the SPA.

Even with the new cost-sharing formula, it's possible the state will have to tap all of the money it has set aside because the financing needs for the dig will move faster than the "appropriations curve" on Capitol Hill, Newsome said. The state would then have to seek reimbursements from Washington for any "forward spending" expenses it incurs beyond the first US$225 million, he said.

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