A legislative committee that helps draft South Carolina’s budget has included the rest of the money needed for the State Port Authoritythe marshalling yard next to the Leatherman Terminal — a first step towards the completion of the long-awaited North Charleston project.
Funding still needs to be approved by a majority of General assembly and of Governor Henry McMaster. And while it is difficult to make predictions about the budget-making process so early on, both have shown their support in the past.
The government spending plan proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee invests $350 million in the rail project. Added to the $200 million allocated last year, that would fill the total construction budget of $550 million.
The source of the money is twofold: approximately $223 million would come from a settlement between South Carolina and US Department of Energy on the failure of the plutonium conversion operation Savannah River Site. A one-time contribution tied to the state’s general fund would provide the remainder, nearly $127 million.
“We are grateful to Ways and Means for including it in their package, and we are very hopeful and optimistic that we will receive funding by the end of this legislative session,” said Jim NewsomeChairman and CEO of the SPA.
The Mount Pleasant-based shipping agency used the initial $200 million to complete preliminary construction work and settle property condemnation lawsuits that began when Palmetto Railways was in charge of development, officially known as Naval Base Intermodal Facility. The shortline railway, a division of the Department of Commerce SCentrusted the project to the SPA last year.
The marshalling yard, which will handle freight containers to and from the nearby port terminal which opened last year, has been in the planning stages for about a decade.
“We are already preparing and will be ready to go once we get the funding,” Newsome said. “If we get the funding this session, we’ll open the facility in 2025.”
Newsome said it was necessary to have a yard at or near a container terminal for the Charleston Harbor to maintain its growth and remain among the top 10 ports in the country. That need is amplified, he said, by congestion hampering container movements along the local waterfront and elsewhere.
The Leatherman Terminal will finally have as much annual capacity as the workhorse of the SPA Wando Welch Terminal at Mount Pleasant — 2.4 million shipping containers measured in 20-foot increments. The agency plans to move much of the cargo from the Leatherman terminal to the rail yard via a private road connecting the sites. It also plans to transport some containers from Wando Welch to the intermodal hub on barges, so they can be moved by railcars instead of trucks.
The Ways and Means proposal also includes funding for a pair of initiatives benefiting Volvo cars and Boeing Co. The Commerce Department requested the money earlier this year to pay for projects that were previously promised to manufacturers as part of incentive agreements the state was offering to entice them to locate or expand in the region. of Charleston.
This package includes $25 million for the construction of a rail line linking the Volvo campus to the Camp Hall Shopping Park in Ridgeville to a CSX Corp. transfer station at Cross. The 23-mile line running through mostly Berkeley County woodlands would be operated by Palmetto Railways and used by the automaker to haul cars – including the S60 sedan and new generation XC90 SUV – for American dealers. Design work and right-of-way purchases have been completed, but construction has not started due to lack of funding.
Another $42 million would be used to move the entrance to Charleston International Airport and move a radar facility out of state property that has been promised to Boeing if the aircraft manufacturer decides to expand its 787 Dreamliner Campus.
A Dallas-based industrial real estate company plans to build a pair of speculative warehouses totaling 552,240 square feet in Eastport Distribution Center in Summerville.
Dorchester County Council on February 22, tax incentives were approved for the project, which will be built by Dalfen Industrial on approximately 75 acres off Interstate 26 on Deming Way near Hodge Road.
The structures are expected to cost around $49 million. Dalfen acquired the two nearby properties Eastport Shopping Center end of 2021 as part of a $17.5 million purchase from Mayriver Industries LLC. The buyer said it made more than $600 million in acquisitions in the Southeast over the past year.
The warehouses, which were previously codenamed Piper Projectshould be finished in about a year, according to the developer.
Dalfen describes itself as “a leader in the last mile real estate industry” with “a particular focus on last mile facilities critical to enabling e-commerce.”
The Texas company’s other Palmetto State properties are in Greer and Piedmont.
To reach David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_