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Lawmakers talk port improvements in Charleston

CHARLESON, S.C. (AP) -- Federal lawmakers are visiting Charleston to talk about cutting the red tape that slows port improvement projects.

U.S. Rep. Bill Schuster, R-Pa., the chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is visiting Charleston on Wednesday. South Carolina U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn are touring the port with him.

The lawmakers and ports officials meet with reporters later on Wednesday.

Studies are currently under way on a proposed $300 million deepening of the Charleston Harbor shipping channel. A draft environmental impact statement is expected to be done next year.

Maritime officials want the harbor deepened so Charleston will be able to accommodate the larger container ships that will routinely call when the widened Panama Canal is open in 2015.