Nearly 45 years ago -- in August of 1973 -- the S.C. Public Railways Commission became operational. Known today as Palmetto Railways, the entity, which is a division of the S.C. Department of Commerce, is integral to the movement of freight across South Carolina. A Class III, short line railroad, more than 100,000 carloads move on Palmetto Railways' tracks annually.
In recent years, the agency has been collaborating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and other stakeholders on the development of a new infrastructure asset -- a Navy Base Intermodal Facility (NBIF). Located on a 118-acre site on the former Charleston Naval Complex, the NBIF will offer equal connectivity to the area for both of the state's Class I rail carriers, CSX and Norfolk Southern. And, as a result, South Carolina businesses will be able to transport goods more efficiently across our state and beyond.
Two weeks ago, this project took a major step forward as the federal government released its Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS). With that step complete, we are now in the midst of a 30-day public review period, which will conclude at the end of this month. The Corps will then use the Final EIS and public comments to determine whether to issue or deny the all-important Section 404 permit to advance the project.
A long time in the making, we celebrate the progress of the proposed NBIF facility. After all, this critical project will help us ensure that we're working to meet the needs of South Carolina's business community to keep our state growing.