by Chris Haire
Without a doubt, the biggest issue facing the good citizens of North Charleston is the ongoing battle with the S.C. Department of Commerce over two radically different plans to serve the new port in North Chuck.
As you know, the state's plan would place a terminal on the northern end of the Navy Yard, destroying Mayor Keith Summey's vision for the old navy base, and send trains around the revitalized area of Park Circle.
These trains would cross over North Rhett at the I-526 on- and off-ramps and effectively block off interstate traffic into and out of Park Circle for significant periods.
The other plan would create a terminal on the southern end of the Navy Yard and even more trains through the impoverished North Charleston neighborhoods of Union Heights and Chicora-Cherokee.
Further complicating matters: the rail line in question is owned by CSX. Their competitor Norfolk Southern would have to pay CSX to use the line. Both Norfolk and the state are strongly opposed to this.
With this in mind, you would think that current Charleston County School Board member and recently announced mayoral candidate Chris Collins would have something to say about it. But he doesn't. The P&C reports:
At his announcement, Collins said he had no position on the most heated issue of the day in North Charleston: picking a preference between the dueling state and city plans on how to approach and address rail lines and traffic toward the new State Ports Authority terminal being built at the southern end of the city.
I don't know about folks, but that's not what I would call leadership.
And as a resident of North Charleston, I sure as hell don't want something who is unwilling to address the biggest issue of the day to be my mayor. Just saying.