FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The compromise proposal, which was developed in response to community concerns and recommendations of the Charleston County Legislative Delegation's Ad Hoc Port Subcommittee, contains the following key elements:
*Focus on increasing capacity at existing terminals. Current requirements call for approximately $300 million to improve current facilities through FY2008.
*Restrict the ultimate dimension of the terminal to the Cooper River side of the island only. The first phase is anticipated to include 3,000 feet of berth space and 200 acres of container yard.
*No docks on the Wando River side of Daniel Island. The Wando and Middle Cells on the east side of Daniel Island would return to use as dredge disposal areas. As part of mitigation in the construction permit, the Authority would permanently restrict future development along the Wando River side.
*Public space conveyed to City of Charleston. The Authority would convey to the City a 55-acre parcel at the north end of its property for use as open space, park or recreational facilities, upon completion of the first phase.
*Develop a comprehensive intermodal plan. In coordination with the Authority, the SCDOT and SC Public Railways will lead in developing road and rail infrastructure to serve port expansion, meet customer requirements and recognize community traffic concerns. This will include construction of a dedicated access road, improvement to existing truck routes, access to mainline railyards and development of alternate truck and rail routes.
*Continue discussions with private sector maritime companies that have expressed interest in Daniel Island to determine viability and develop a scope of work for the project.
*Obtain approval from the S.C. General Assembly by June 2002. Then initiate a new permitting process with Federal and State resource agencies once the new scope of work has been developed.
"It is imperative that the solution for port expansion deals with all issues - environmental concerns, traffic flow considerations and other community impacts," said Capt. Whitemarsh S. Smith III, who was elected chairman of the Ports Authority Board at the meeting. "This Board is committed to doing that. And its actions show that the Authority is responsive."
"We are ever-mindful of our customers' needs and are preparing to meet their requirements," said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority. "We have our eyes and ears on their needs, and we plan to be ready."
Smith, who is president of the Charleston Branch Pilots Association and has served on the Authority Board since April 1999, was elected chairman of the Authority Board today. He served the past two years as vice chairman. Smith replaces Edgar A. Buck, who has served on the Authority board since 1994, including the two years as vice chairman and the past two years as chairman.
Smith presented a resolution during the meeting, recognizing Buck for his devotion to "seeking a solution to the many challenges facing port expansion and development with an unwavering spirit of compromise and fairness."
"I assure you that I will do my best to build on what Eddie has worked on," said Smith, "moving us toward a prosperous and unified community with a strong and successful port."
William B. Timmerman, who is chairman, president and chief executive officer of SCANA Corp., an energy-based holding company based in Columbia, was elected vice chairman of the Authority Board. James A. Bennett of Columbia and Jack M. Scoville Jr. of Georgetown were re-elected treasurer and secretary, respectively.