Plans for Jasper Port move forward, officials celebrate developments

The ports in Savannah and Charleston are said to be ‘at capacity’ by the year 2025. A new plan could mean the biggest port in the country, right across the Talmadge Bridge in Jasper County. In a meeting on Monday, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley visited Jasper County to talk plans and show support for the Jasper Greater Terminal.

The new port could mean a million jobs and billions of dollars to the greater Jasper area. Haley says plans for saving money should come together sooner, rather than later. The price tag is an estimated $4.5 billion, which includes projects associated with the port, like widening Highway 17.

“So, that’s why you’re going to continue to hear me ask the Senate again, and ask the House again, you know, don’t waste it. The years don’t come by often, but let’s put it in safety pockets,” Haley said.

“This Jasper Port is a priority in infrastructure just like the roads are. So, I think that we need to include that in that process so that everybody is ready for it,” Haley said.

The $4.5 billion would come partially from grant, and partially from the year-to-year building budget from the State.

In a luncheon meeting on Monday afternoon held by the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce, presenters suggested there would be one million jobs created by the year 2040, and $9 billion pumped back into the local tax base.

“It’ll look like an opportunity. It’ll look like an opportunity not to commute to work. It’ll look like an opportunity not to work for minimum wage,” Jasper County Councilman Tom Johnson said.

Johnson has been fighting to make the port a reality for years. He was pleased with what the Monday meeting signified a reaffirmation that officials are on board with making the port happen.

“It just reaffirms that this is real, this is not a dream,” Johnson said. “That has not always been the case. In fact, there was a long time when all those people were working or their counterparts or predecessors, were working to stop us,” he said.

“I did see one little ‘fly in the ambrosia’ of the whole ‘happy day,’ and that was the repeated mention of needing it when the ports of Charleston and Savannah are at total capacity. That is just wrong from every conceivable angle. We needed it…yesterday,” he said.

The project is currently in its contracting phase, as ports authority officials search for a third party developer.

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