FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charleston, SC - A South Carolina Senator recently introduced the State Ports Authority (SPA) Accountability Act, ignoring the role of respected business professionals on the SPA's Board and creating red tape for the public's most effective and successful economic asset.
Senate Bill 1330, introduced by Bill Mescher, would prohibit the SPA from entering into a permit process, land acquisition or construction contract or obligate the authority to undertake any other procurement for any project that is in excess of $5 million.
Currently these contracts are reviewed by the SPA Board, which is made up of respected business leaders from around the state. SPA Board members include very successful entrepreneurs, presidents of billion dollar corporations, recognized business leaders and accomplished attorneys who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.
"This bill is an affront to the public servants and business leaders that have served our state on the Ports Authority Board," said Anne M. Moïse, spokesperson for the SPA. "It basically says that executives running billion dollar companies are incapable of making sound business decisions."
In addition, by requiring approval of the General Assembly for all acquisitions above $5 million, the bill would create bureaucratic roadblocks and slow what has arguably been the state's most effective quasi-state agency. The SPA has set global productivity records and has grown to become the nation's fourth busiest container port, handling $79 million in cargo every day.
Just last month the SPA ordered container stacking equipment totaling $8 million and has four cranes on order that are worth $26 million. These were direct responses to increasing port volume and the needs of manufacturers in South Carolina.
"It is contradictory for port opponents to call for more efficiency and at the same time stimulate bureaucracy," said Moise. "The State Ports Authority was created as an enterprise instrumentality, allowing it to react to market requirements and customer needs. All across the state and nation taxpayers are seeking more effective government, but this bill would reverse the Ports Authority's ability to serve South Carolina."