Vincent Sheheen held a press conference this morning at the Waterfront Pier in Charleston to demand Nikki Haley take a stand on the harbor deepening needed to secure the future of the port. "If we don't succeed, we will suffer a competitive disadvantage that will permanently place the port in a 2nd-tier status, costing us billions for generations. The people of South Carolina deserve to know where Representative Haley stands - time is of the essence and we can't wait any longer for her answer," said Sheheen.
Six weeks ago, Sheheen challenged Representative Haley to take a stand and tell South Carolinians her position on deepening the port of Charleston. She has refused to go on the record about whether she supports the harbor deepening or not. Meanwhile, every other East Coast port has already secured the federal funding necessary to handle the increased traffic that will occur as a result of the impending expansion of the Panama Canal.
The Port of Charleston currently provides an estimated 260,000 jobs, nearly $12 billion in wages and $1.5 billion in local and state revenue for South Carolina. In the last decade, the Charleston Port has dropped from the nation's fourth largest container ship port to ninth.
"The Port of Charleston is a fundamental piece of our state's economy. There will be no stronger engine for South Carolina's economic recovery than our port. There is no greater opportunity for business and job growth potential and extended future prosperity than our port. And, as governor, there will not be a more dedicated promoter and supporter of our port," Sheheen said.
Sheheen concluded, "If Nikki Haley is not for doing whatever it takes to dredge this port, Nikki Haley is not for creating jobs."