Berkeley Senator Larry Grooms told Charleston affiliate WTMA he has a word for the citizens of North Charleston–
It is my goal to reduce the quality of life impacts of having rail in North Charleston, not only today, but in the future. I believe we have a grand opportunity to reduce the impacts that currently exist. That is the goal of the city of North Charleston and that is my goal.
But, Mayor Summey says placing the rail lines through the northern end, which he says was not agreed upon, would affect an entire community he is redeveloping.
Grooms says the State Ports Authority is not going to violate the MOU. He says he is not in opposition with North Charleston, but is more of an ally, and he says it shows by the hours of deliberation with the Department of Commerce.
The easiest thing for me to do would be to fold my tent with the Oversight Commission and let the state Department of Commerce do what they want to, but that’s not what we are doing. I believe we do have a grand opportunity right now to be able to reroute some existing train lines in the city of North Charleston. We have an ability to put some overpasses in place. We have the ability right now, moving forward, to lessen the impacts the trains currently have.
Grooms says sometimes state government has to step in and tackle local issues–like in this case, he says.
I believe in home rule that local government has a right to operate, absolutely I do. But, I also believe that unlike South Carolina being a sovereign state joined together with the 49 others to form the United States government, I do believe that the state of South Carolina is a sovereign entity and we do have political subdivisions, those being the counties and the cities.
Grooms says the MOU was between the State Ports Authority and the city of North Charleston, not the state Legislature. He says the Legislature did not agree to place North Charleston rail on either end.