Monday, April 13, 2009

South Carolina city balks at regional intermodal upgrade

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Officials of North Charleston, S.C., are objecting to plans by the state to improve area rail connections to port facilities, saying a lawsuit against the proposal is not an idle threat.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey says the current proposal would undo local plans to redevelop a former Navy base, as rail lines and intermodal yards would absorb prime real estate development potential.

The mayor says North Charleston was never consulted on the plan and was not consulted before recent state legislative action advancing intermodal expansion was advanced.

Late last year the Port of Charleston eying near-dock rail connections, and possibly some on-dock options, for both CSX and Norfolk Southern to improve freight rail traffic flow in the area.  At present, CSX has access to North Charleston’s Navy base site from the south, while NS has no comparable access.

City Councilman Kurt Taylor, whose district includes areas around the base, said the ripple effect of bringing trains in from the north would be extend beyond the base. It would disrupt areas around Park Circle and elsewhere if trains are allowed to come in several times a day, he said.