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South Carolina lawmakers to discuss future of Jasper Co. port

Updated: Jul. 23, 2018 at 6:55 AM EDT
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JASPER CO., SC (WTOC) - After the South Carolina Ports Authority said the Jasper County Port wouldn't be needed for another 15 years, a group of South Carolina lawmakers says the idea needs to become a reality sooner rather than later.

The group will meet Monday to discuss ways to expedite the project which they believe could bring economic growth to the Jasper County area.

Senator Tom Davis, who represents Jasper and Beaufort counties in Columbia is the one organizing the meeting. He's been a strong proponent of the Jasper Ocean Terminal for several reasons.

The Jasper County area is one of the poorest areas in South Carolina.

According to Davis, some refer to the area as the so-called "corridor of shame".

He says the proposed port could bring economic growth for those who live in Jasper County. He says the port means high paying jobs.

And when you're talking about economic growth, you're also talking about improved healthcare and better schools.

In 2009, lawmakers asked the state's ports authority to get started on the Jasper Port. But the authority says the Port of Charleston can handle business for now.

Sen. Davis says the focus shouldn't be on Charleston's needs but the needs of the Garden City terminal. He says the Georgia Ports will soon be looking for an overflow location within the next 10 years.

"What you're effectively doing is you're telling the Georgia Ports Authority they better start looking at other alternatives, and they might. And if that happens, you can kiss the Jasper Ocean Terminal goodbye," Sen. Davis said.

The South Carolina Ports Authority said in a statement earlier this month that it is working to assess infrastructure needs for the Jasper Ocean Terminal this fiscal year.

The group of 15 South Carolina lawmakers will all be on their phones during a conference call to discuss ways to further the Jasper Port. The conference call is set for 3:30 p.m. on Monday.

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