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Sen. Davis: Gov. Haley reaffirms commitment to port

Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, praised South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for including a $19 million appropriation for the Jasper County Port Facility Infrastructure Fund in the fiscal year 2017-18 executive budget that was released Tuesday.

The Jasper Ocean Terminal is on track for 2025 and Davis, in a statement, said Haley has “once again reaffirmed South Carolina’s commitment to building the Jasper Port.”

Davis said in December he asked Gov. Haley to include the appropriation to “escrow funds necessary to build the infrastructure needed by the planned Jasper Port on the Savannah River.”

The infrastructure account was established by the South Carolina General Assembly through Act. No. 56-Session 117 (2007-2008).

Davis noted the Jasper Ocean Terminal Joint Project Office had adopted a resolution estimating the cost of the Jasper Port connector road (a new five-lane road that would extend south from U.S. 17 along the Savannah River toward the river’s mouth and end at the Jasper Port site) to be $190 million “and since the JPO is a co-equal joint venture by Georgia and South Carolina, identified an infrastructure obligation of $95 million for each state.”

“The JPO resolution calls for each of the two states to amortize its $95 million connector-road infrastructure cost over the five-year permitting period for the Jasper Port (which is now underway) so that funds to construct the connector road are on hand when the permit is issued. Each state’s $95 million share of that connector-road cost, spread over that period of time, comes to $19 million year; thus, my budget request to Gov. Haley,” Davis said.

Davis said the next steps include having the S.C. House Ways and Means Committee include the $19 million appropriation in its budget for 2017-18, and encourage legislators in Georgia to include a similar appropriation in its budget for the coming fiscal year.

“It is truly a great day in South Carolina, but we must continue to ensure that we remain competitive regionally, nationally and globally,” Haley said in a statement. “Infrastructure investments such as the Inland Port Greer, deepening the Port of Charleston, and plans for a new deep water port in Jasper County will ensure South Carolina remains an international hub for business.”

The cost for the port project is estimated to be around $4.5 billion. It is expected to be completed in four phases.

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