Rail Resolution in Charleston, S.C., Creates a Win-Win

05 Dec, 2012

A settlement among the South Carolina Department of Commerce, its Division of Public Railways and the city of North Charleston was recently approved by the North Charleston City Council. This is a first step towards ending all pending litigation among the parties, as well as the State Ports Authority, creating a win-win for the state and the city.

The city will offer equal dual rail access to the Port of Charleston through an intermodal rail yard that will be located on the former Charleston Naval Base while protecting the neighboring communities.

Key elements of the settlement include:

•             An exchange of property between North Charleston and Public Railways that divides property at the former naval base so that North Charleston controls the property closest to the waterfront that is best suited for residential and recreational development, while Public Railways retains property required to implement the rail yard and associated rail lines, as well as other property best suited for industrial and economic development.

•             Payments to North Charleston by Public Railways from privately-generated revenues available for capital projects, including $8 million paid in $2 million installments over four years and assumption of the Tax Increment Financing bond debt associated with the former Noisette acreage acquired by Public Railways.

•             A comprehensive surface transportation study to identify impacts of rail and highway traffic related to state port and rail operations throughout North Charleston. Public Railways, the State Ports Authority, the South Carolina Department of Transportation and North Charleston will equally fund the study that will identify the infrastructure required to mitigate these impacts.

•             Administrative support by the city of North Charleston for rezoning, permitting, and other issues needed to implement the rail yard, resolve existing rail and other related issues, and attract new investment and jobs to the former Charleston Naval Base.

Together with funds appropriated to advance harbor deepening, the settlement signals to the global business community that South Carolina will be ready to accommodate the rapid growth in commerce that will move through the Port after the Panama Canal is widened in 2014. As a key partner in the deal that will facilitate the efficient and cost-effective movement of cargo through the Charleston region and statewide, the city of North Charleston will also benefit from new investment and job creation.

For more details, visit the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

Illustration by cooldesign at Free Digital Photos.net.