North Charleston fails to get grant money for railroad project

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email | Twitter

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A bid by the city of North Charleston to get federal grant money to help fund a railroad project at the old Navy Base was unsuccessful.

North Charleston and its partners for the rail plan, CSX rail lines and Shipyard Creek Associates, a local developer, applied for the US Department of Transportation's Tiger II grant program. The $600 million in federal funding was to be awarded to help build highways, bridges, railroads and ports across the country.

"While we are disappointed, we do look forward to resubmitting the grant at a future date. Our grant application included a collaborative effort among a number of parties to improve a long needed transportation issue in our community. We appreciate all the support we received in the process and look forward to the continued support as we move forward," Mayor Keith Summey said.

"To put the competitiveness of the grant in perspective, of the $19 billion that was requested, only $600 million was awarded, 3.2 percent was awarded," City of North Charleston spokesman Ryan Johnson said.

The City's plan is to build new railroads and re-route railroads through the old Navy Base property and build an inter modal rail yard, to help support business for the South Carolina State Ports Authority's new terminal currently under construction in North Charleston.

The SCSPA isn't speaking publicly on the issue, however port officials have signed a "memorandum of understanding" with the City of North Charleston, which is an agreement between the two parties.

State lawmakers on the Review and Oversight Comission of the SCSPA met in September to discuss the future of the rail plan through North Charleston. Rail executives and business leaders with a stake in port activities all spoke at the meeting. Commission chair State Senator Larry Grooms says they plan to release findings from the meeting later this year.

According to the DOT's website, two South Carolina projects got funding from the Tiger II grant. The Broad Street Road Diet received $456,000 and a project to link Greenville's neighborhoods to jobs and open space got $235,000.

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