From CP Contributor Dan McCue:

Concerned that far more than a soured U.S. economy is eroding the state’s position in the global supply chain, the Orangeburg County Development Commission is promoting a $700 million plan to create a “global logistics corridor” extending from the Port of Charleston to Columbia.

The proposal, outlined in a white paper distributed to the state’s Congressional delegation and the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs during a two-day trip to Washington in February, calls for the creation of a new freight rail shuttle service between Charleston and Orangeburg, where containers would then flow in all directions from a planned 61-acre intermodal yard.

Gregg Robinson, the OCDC’s executive director, said while much of the plan would fall outside the parameters of project deadlines of the $787 billion federal economic stimulus package, passage of the stimulus package should “free up some of the normal or traditional sources of funding, such as the federal highway fund, over the next several years.

That said, Robinson made plain that he sees the plan part of the economic recovery process.

“What we’re putting out there is a regional solution to a statewide problem — a plan that will create hundreds of construction jobs in the near term and thousands of sustainable jobs over the next 20 years,” he said.

“My philosophy is, build the infrastructure, add the value businesses need to be successful, and then get out of the way and let the private sector do its thing,” Robinson added.

Sen. Lindsey Graham described the proposal as “one of the most transformational projects in South Carolina by creating thousands of new jobs, and generating tens of millions of dollars in revenue at the local, state, and federal level.

“I have been pleased to work with the Orangeburg County Development Commission in their effort to make the Corridor a reality,” Graham said, vowing to work with the commission, state leaders and their partners in moving the global logistics corridor forward.” —Dan McCue