S.C. Public Railways and Department of Commerce Announce the Development of a Statewide Rail Plan

August 13, 2008

Rail Plan to Examine Infrastructure and Development Opportunities in South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. – August 13, 2008 – South Carolina Public Railways, a division of the Department of Commerce, today announced that Wilbur Smith was chosen to research and develop a statewide rail plan for South Carolina. 

South Carolina Public Railways and the Department of Commerce sought the development of a rail plan in order to outline the inventory of current large industrial sites and make recommendations related to future development of logistics, infrastructure and economic development that could improve the attractiveness of existing resources for potential investors.

“Over the past two years Commerce and its allies have recruited jobs and investments at record-breaking levels.  South Carolina must take the necessary steps now to continue this success in the years ahead.  By examining current infrastructure capabilities and future opportunities that may exist through the development of available sites, we are positioning South Carolina to be an even more attractive location to do business.  We look forward to working with Wilbur Smith and our economic development partners to examine current and future development potential in our state,” said Joe Taylor, South Carolina Secretary of Commerce. 

The rail plan will be developed with the input of several state agencies and divisions including: S.C. Department of Transportation, S.C. State Ports Authority, the Department of Commerce Aeronautics Division, S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, Public Service Commission, Office of Research and Statistics, and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.  Input will also be sought from Norfolk Southern, CSX Transportation, short-line rail operators, local economic development alliances and Councils of Government.

The rail plan will review the impact of rail on economic development in South Carolina, including both passenger and freight, and its role in the multimodal transportation infrastructure of South Carolina and the Southeast region.

The rail plan will examine the state’s existing infrastructure, including the rail system, the interstate system, access to the Port of Charleston and the future Jasper Port, as well as large industrial sites with potential to be developed into mega sites. The rail plan will identify rail opportunities to meet the state’s current and future economic development needs including improving rail access to support large scale industrial growth.

Wilbur Smith was chosen to complete the comprehensive plan through a competitive bid process based on ability, experience and expertise. Wilbur Smith has extensive experience in preparing a state rail plan, having prepared four in South Carolina and a total of 46 plans for 24 states. The plan is expected to be completed in January.