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Two proposed intermodal hubs in South Carolina would have opposite economic impacts, study shows


A recently released economic impact study shows a proposed intermodal rail and warehousing complex in North Charleston, S.C., would create hundreds of permanent jobs and generate more than $100 million annually.

CSX Transportation, the city of North Charleston and Shipyard Creek Associates jointly released the study, which was conducted by The Perryman Group. The three parties plan to build an intermodal hub and warehousing facilities — which would be jointly developed by CSXT and Shipyard Creek — primarily to serve a new container terminal being constructed on a former Navy base in North Charleston. The partners also plan to remove 3.2 miles of CSXT’s lines running through the city, build half a mile of new track and renovate another half-mile of mostly unused track.

The study estimates that during construction and development, the North Charleston project would create $111.9 in additional output and 1,410 jobs. Ongoing annual operations would generate an additional $73.4 in output and 869 permanent jobs.

The Perryman Group also studied the economic impact of a state rail plan proposed by the South Carolina Commerce Department and its South Carolina Public Railways division, which calls for establishing an intermodal facility that would be served by CSXT and Norfolk Southern Railway. The facility would be built on land owned by the Clemson Restoration Institute, city of North Charleston, Noisette Co. and several other private entities. Tracts of the land would have to be condemned through eminent domain, which would negatively impact the existing tax increment financing for naval base improvements, the study found.

In addition, the city would have first right of refusal if a Clemson University tract was not developed by the college as a wind turbine assembly facility and research/manufacturing cluster. The impacts of the Noisette/Clemson tract would result in $426 million in reduced output and 4,963 lost jobs after the intermodal facility is fully operational, the study determined.