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Governor vetoes rail-Community Rallys

May 20, 2009

North Charleston community cheers Mayor Summey, May 19

North Charleston community cheers Mayor Summey, May 19

Veto 13
Part IB; Section 40.38; Page 379-380; Department of Commerce; Railway Transfer.

This proviso requires all railroad tracks, structures, and equipment on the Old Navy Base site in
North Charleston to be transferred to the Division of Public Railways within the Department of
Commerce. This transfer is to facilitate the development of an intermodal transportation facility
that will provide CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad companies with access to transporting port
cargo to and from the new State Ports Authority (SPA) terminal planned for the Base.

First, I am vetoing this proviso because it undermines the Memorandum of Agreement between
the SPA and the City of North Charleston, in which those two parties agreed that the SPA would
not grant railroad access on the northern section of the Base. The principle here is a simple one,
your word is your bond – and this proviso would break with the words given that facilitated the
SPA move from Daniel Island to North Charleston. Were it not for that agreement the port
would likely have never come to this site in the first place. It isn’t right to some years later and
try and change the deal that got you were you are.

This agreement seems to have been sloppily arranged as from a legal standpoint, and the SPA
had no legal authority to bind the Department of Commerce, Division of Public Railways or
other areas of state government. This, however, does not change the spirit of the agreement –
particularly since the same legislative principals like Senator Leatherman or McConnell who
were there in negotiating this original agreement are now party to this proviso that would change

There is also an especially troubling pattern in the SPA seemingly not negotiating in good faith.
This is evidenced in the heirs’ property belonging to long-time families on the Cainhoy
Peninsula still being held by the SPA, or in the disingenuous email from an employee of the SPA
with regard to this contemplated rail line. These kinds of dealings highlight the lunacy of
making the SPA board protected – as it would move it from what some would consider an
arrogant or pushy entity to an imperial one.

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