The Transportation Security Administration is showing signs of backing off its demand that U.S. airports take over exit lane monitoring in their terminals, a move that was going to cost Charleston International $237,000 a year.
The change won't take effect Jan. 1 as planned. The agency's about-face came after Congress began looking into the matter.
"They will give us 60 days notice if they decide not to maintain their service," said Paul Campbell, airports director for the Charleston County Aviation Authority.
The job has been handled for years by the TSA to ensure no one bypasses security checkpoints by strolling in through the out door. Campbell said the function should remain with the agency under federal law.
Trade groups representing the airport industry have threatened to sue over what they called an unfunded government mandate.
Charleston International said the expense would have ended up costing its passengers through higher airfares. The airport has estimated it would need to hire 13 part-time officers to fill the TSA's shoes.
It really is a small world.
With all the national fervor over Boeing's site selection for a 777X assembly plant, The Post and Courier reached out to Long Beach, Calif., one of the contenders for the plane-making operation.
As it turned out, the point of contact on the left coast has Lowcountry roots.
Reggie Harrison, with more than 20 years in municipal government, is Long Beach's deputy manager. He's has played a key role in every major project in California's seventh largest city for the past 10 years.
He also happened to grow up in Summerville, where he graduated from high school in 1973 and played football for Green Wave Coach John McKissick, whose still on the job and is the winningest high school football coach in the nation.
"I'll retire when the coach retires," Harrison said with a chuckle.
Harrison still has family in the Charleston area. A niece, Erika Harrison, is an attorney in Charleston.
As for his city's prospects for the 777X deal, he downplayed them, saying he didn't know if the current Boeing C-17 cargo plane manufacturing site, which will close in 2015, has enough room for the new jet.
Ready for its close-up
The recently opened State Ports Authority transfer yard in Greer is revving up.
The nearly $50 million cargo transfer facility now has stacks of cargo containers, equipment and an almost around-the-clock buzz: 24 hours a day, six days a week.
The activity has the state maritime agency ready to show off the place, all in the name of attracting more business.
"Now we start the process of attracting more customers. Now that we have the operation stabilized, people can see it," CEO Jim Newsome said during SPA's board meeting last week.
The 100-acre facility transfers between trucks and Norfolk Southern rail cars that run between the Upstate and the Port of Charleston.
The SPA plans to handle 40,000 containers in year one at the Greer yard, which potentially can accommodate 100,000 annually, officials have said.
BMW's nearby assembly plant is one the first customers. Other Upstate prospects include athletic-gear maker adidas and tire manufacturer Michelin.
Money in the bank
The check is ... not in the mail. It's actually in the bank. Signed, sealed, delivered and cashed.
The Charleston County Aviation Authority showed documented proof to board members last week that the $13.8 million it's receiving for the sale of 267 acres for Boeing Co.'s expansion plans was in hand.
Palmetto Railways, an arm of the state Commerce Department, is the legal owner of the property because it must stay under a state entity as collateral for the government bond proceeds Boeing is using to develop the property.
The transaction closed Dec. 13. Boeing has an option to buy the property in 2027.
To meet Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, the check the Aviation Authority received must be placed in the highest interest-bearing account available and must be used for aeronautical purposes only within five years, according to Judi Olmstead, the airport's finance director. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch has the cash.
The agency hasn't determined yet how to spend the money, but it can't be used for parking or items that are not air-related, she said.
Hey, kids! United Airlines says children flying alone from Charleston International or any other airport, for that matter, need to go nonstop or stay home, the Associated Press reported last week.
United says it's no longer allowing children ages 5 to 11 to fly without an adult on flights that include connections. It also says its optional service for unaccompanied minors ages 12-17 will only be offered on nonstop flights.
From Charleston, the carrier flies to Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Newark and the Washington, D.C. area.
It made the changes quietly two weeks ago. United charges $150 extra, each way, for children flying alone.
United's new policy for young children is similar to policies at US Airways and Southwest. Delta Air Lines and American will still help young children who are flying alone get to connecting flights.
All of those airlines serve Charleston.
Uncle Sam handed South Carolina a hefty chunk of change to grow its small business market, and the state didn't hesitate to spend it.
The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 created the Small Business Credit Initiative, a federal program that disperses various amounts of money to each state to support new small businesses.
A report released last week by the U.S. Department of Treasury found that South Carolina had spent $60.1 million, about 90 percent of the funds, to attract investments in the state's small businesses. That's the third-highest usage rate in the country.
Most of the money is used to create partnerships between new businesses and local banks, the report said.
The Treasury's first annual report found that the program had encouraged investments, totaling $1.9 billion, in nearly 46,000 businesses nationwide in 2012.
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