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North Charleston rail hub closer to the green light

A rail yard where cargo boxes moving through the Port of Charleston would be transferred on and off freight trains has received a key federal permit, but the project has a few more steps before it gets the green light.

The $291 million rail hub is proposed for 118 acres near Hobson Avenue and Viaduct Road on the former Navy base in North Charleston. It would be owned and operated by Palmetto Railways, a division of the S.C. Commerce Department.

In a statement, Commerce called the permit from the Army Corps of Engineers a “monumental milestone,” giving the rail hub all of the environmental approvals necessary for construction.

But the project — officially known as the Navy Base Intermodal Container Transfer Facility — doesn’t have all of its funding and to get that it will need approval from the Federal Railroad Administration. A spokeswoman for that agency said approval could come later this year.

Palmetto Railways is seeking a loan through the federal Build America Bureau to cover most of the construction costs, with other funding expected to come from public and private sources.

Read more on The Post and Courier.

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