Off Track

Bob Szabo’s remarks in Dan McCue’s story on the new port terminal, although well intentioned, could actually do the Port of Charleston a great disservice. (“A Road Runs Through It: Developer sees private venture as key to new port terminal’s success,” Nov. 12)

While the developers of the proposed Macalloy Intermodal Park would love to see dual access for both CSX and Norfolk Southern (NS), the operating reality at other ports is very different.

First, let’s define dual access. If dual access means both Class I railroads having equal, unrestricted access to a single intermodal terminal, that scenario simply does not exist. Only where two intermodal rail facilities were built side by side does anything even remotely resembling Mr. Szabo’s ideal arrangement exist. (I am aware of only one instance on the East Coast where an intermodal terminal was designed for the full integration of two Class I railroads within one facility. Ultimately, the railroads elected not to co-operate; instead, they chose to independently operate separate intermodal terminals.)

Today, dual or joint access for multiple Class I railroads typically is achieved by having each railroad develop its own intermodal rail terminal. The Port of Charleston should immediately begin looking for land to build an intermodal rail facility for NS with deep water access, but that should not hold up development of a much-needed intermodal rail hub at the Macalloy property. Macalloy Intermodal Park would provide the Port with substantial competitive freight mobility advantages and proven environmental sustainability, as well as greatly reduced truck traffic congestion.

In addition, the notion that NS would be completely shut out of the new terminal at the old Navy Base also is a misrepresentation. Cargo coming through the new port terminal could be drayed by truck to NS trains, which is identical to the operating arrangement at the Port of Charleston today.

Finally, Mr. Szabo’s comment that “People don’t invest in being captive” disregards the billions of dollars that Charleston’s competitors are investing in dedicated-access rail hubs.

The Port of Charleston has a clear choice: The State Ports Authority can embrace modern intermodalism as the wave of the future, or it can elect to build a 1960s-style container terminal that pushes sections of Interstate 26 to unacceptable levels of service.

Is history repeating itself?

M. John Vickerman

Williamsburg, Va.

M. John Vickerman is president of Vickerman & Associates LLC and is a consultant to Shipyard Creek Associates LLC, a firm proposing to build an intermodal rail facility at the former Macalloy Corp. property.

A Maverick Connection

Mr. Will Moredock mentions the origins of the word “maverick” and its connection to Charleston. (“The Original Maverick,” Nov. 5) He fails to mention another important South Carolina connection.

Samuel Augustus’s mother, the wife of Samuel Maverick, Jr., was Elizabeth Anderson. Elizabeth Anderson was the daughter of the famous Revolutionary War hero and statesman, Gen. Robert Anderson, who fought with Gen. Andrew Pickens at the Battle of Cowpens and later represented his district, now Anderson County, in the S.C. state House and Senate. Gen. Anderson’s second wife was the widow of Samuel Maverick, Sr., a prominent merchant in Charleston. Samuel Augustus married Mary Adams of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and then moved to Texas in 1835.

Being a direct descendant of Gen. Anderson, I appreciate the “independent” spirit and love of country of both the Maverick and Anderson families, all politics aside.

Nancy Anderson DiModica

Mt. Pleasant

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.