Message from Secretary Hitt: An economic engine for S.C.

South Carolina's railway system plays a pivotal role in economic and industrial development in the Palmetto State. On this day in 1973, the S.C. Public Railways Commission became operational. Fast forward 46 years, and the entity, now known as Palmetto Railways, is integral to the movement of freight across South Carolina.

A division of S.C. Commerce, Palmetto Railways is a Class III, short line railroad that moves more than 100,000 carloads each year. Not only is rail a valuable part of the state's infrastructure, it also serves as an economic development engine. In fact, the South Carolina rail system supports an estimated 339,700 jobs, $15.4 billion paid in income and an output of $56.8 billion across the state. The majority of these jobs arise from businesses that use rail transportation.

In recent years, Palmetto Railways has taken on two important rail projects in the Lowcountry - the establishment of a Navy Base Intermodal Facility and the construction of a rail line to Camp Hall Commerce Park.

The Navy Base Intermodal Facility will allow the Charleston region to facilitate the movement of goods and commerce over rail within the state, especially to and from the Port of Charleston, and throughout the Southeast region of the United States. And, the Camp Hall Rail Project will connect Camp Hall Commerce Park - which includes Volvo Cars - in Berkeley County to the existing Class 1 rail line. Both of these projects will stimulate economic development and provide connections to key regional infrastructure.

Team S.C.'s commitment to the state's rail system will help ensure that we're meeting the distribution needs of South Carolina's business community. By improving and enhancing South Carolina's overall infrastructure and the transportation, distribution and logistics sectors, we ensure our long-term economic viability in moving products to and from the most respected companies around the world.