DILLON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – U.S. Rep. Tom Rice expressed his disappointment during a meet-and-greet Wednesday morning over the federal government denying Dillon a port grant the South Carolina Port Authority applied for back in April.
The representative for the Seventh Congressional District told those in attendance he believed the Dillon port would be one of the top infrastructure projects that would bring much-needed jobs to the district.
"They have different rounds of these applications every year or other year and we had applied for two in our district, one for the Carolina Southern Railway in between Horry and Marion, and the other for the inland port in Dillon County, and well we get one and not the other," Rice said.
Rice added Marion, Dillon and Marlboro counties are some of the poorest in the state and are desperately in need of investment. He felt the port would attract thousands of jobs.
"The three most important issues in our district are jobs, jobs, jobs," Rice said.
Back in April, the South Carolina Ports Authority announced plans to pursue building a second inland port facility.
The SCPA had identified a site in Dillon County it said represents, "significant base cargo opportunities."
The agency referenced Dillon County's access to an existing rail line with CSX, which could provide access to southeastern markets as well as the Midwest.
Its proximity to Interstate 95 was also noted as an important benefit, since the highway was cited as a, "critical transportation artery in the Southeast."
Rice said Wednesday he will continue working to secure a port grant for Dillon County.