State Commerce Department officials today revealed a new rail plan for North Charleston that would place a train-linking operation on an industrial site and put years of often heated debate to rest — theoretically.
State Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor said the rail plan received blessings from the state Budget and Control Board and the Joint Bond Review Committee — the only approval needed for a plan advocates say would ensure equal access for both rail companies that want to serve the new port being built at the city’s south end.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, who helped craft a separate plan that would locate the rail operation elsewhere, promised a legal fight, saying the new plan breaks previous agreements approved by the state that said increased rail traffic would not come through the northern part of the city.
“We will be attacking this action by the state of South Carolina by every possible legal angle that we can,” added city attorney Brady Hair.
Taylor outlined the train plan for The Post and Courier Wednesday afternoon, confirming suspicions that former Commerce Secretary Bob Faith’s recent acquisition of a large portion of the failed Noisette development was designed to provide space for the new train line proposal.
Under the plan, Clemson University must move from its current 71-acre industrial site to a portion of the former Noisette site to make room for the so-called “intermodal container transfer facility.”
The swap will have no effect on Clemson’s wind turbine drive train testing facility under construction but instead should allow it to double in size, according to Taylor.
Taylor said the facility would open around the time of the new container terminal under construction at the former Navy base slated for 2017.
Check back for more on this developing story.