New federal water bill good news for both SC ports

By BRUCE SMITHAssociated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The new federal Water Resources Act smoothes the way for the deepening Charleston Harbor and provides a bigger boost for smaller ports like Georgetown than earlier versions of the bill.

The U.S. House on Tuesday approved a conference bill resolving differences between the House and Senate versions. South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice was on the conference committee.

The new version provides more help for smaller ports like Georgetown. For the next seven fiscal years, it allocates 10 percent of Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund expenditures for improvements at smaller ports. The original House version provided such money for only two years.

It also allows deepening the Charleston shipping channel with local money and allows federal reimbursement later. The Senate votes on the conference report later this week.

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