Governor sidetracks legislators on rail line dispute

Governor Mark Sanford vetoed an amendment that would have transferred a highly disputed rail line project to a state agency. North Charleston residents oppose expansion of railways through their city into an expanded Port of Charleston.
“As governor, that’s not my role deciding where a rail line is or isn’t going to go. I just gotta look at the bigger principles involved on some of these major issues and if it’s on an agreement that was struck I just don’t think it should be basically redone via legislative edict and if folks wanna redo it down there, again, all the interested parties oughta come together, have a food fight, a debate, a conversation and see if they come up with something else,” says Sanford.
If Sanford did not veto the measure, the state agency would have given state lawmakers more flexibility to open the northern end of the port for rail access. The State Ports Authority and the city of North Charleston signed a memorandum in 2002 that stated there would be no rail lines run through the northern end of the property. Now, that has changed. Sanford says the State Ports Authority should have kept its word.
“Our point was you can’t have an agreement that was brought about, however imperfect it might have been, and then a couple years later have folks party to a legislative chain that would really undo the spirit it was agreed upon,” says Sanford.
Sanford says a negotiation could be reached if state lawmakers in Columbia would pull out of the issue and just let local officials handle it.
In the Senate, Lowcountry lawmakers battled it out amongst themselves, stalling discussion on other statewide issues. House lawmakers Wednesday decided not to over-ride that veto.