Columbus pledges $1.8M to get railroad running

By DEUCE NIVEN

    Getting the long-idled Carolina Southern Railroad (CSR) rolling again in Columbus County is worth $1.8 million in tax incentives spread out over the next ten years, Columbus County Commissioners agreed Monday.
    Commissioners gave unanimous approval to the incentives, grants that would be paid to an as yet unnamed buyer of the rail line that ceased operations three years ago.
    County Council in Horry County, South Carolina will consider identical tax incentives tonight (Tuesday), Tabor City attorney Dennis Worley said after the Columbus Board yet.
    Worley is co-chair of an interstate committee that has been working for two years to get the railroad running again. County governments in Horry and Marion counties in South Carolina, with Columbus County and several municipalities and businesses have been pressing CSR owner Ken Pippin to either restore or sell the line.
    Pippin ceased operations on the line after bridges on both sides of the state line failed federal inspections. He said the estimated $2 to $4 million in repair costs were beyond his means, and efforts to secure federal grants for the work were not successful.
    Worley said Pippin and the private company interested in buying the line are close to an agreement, but he could not say when the deal would be complete.
    “I’m as optimistic about this as I’ve ever been on any project I’ve ever worked on,” Worley said.
    For more on this story see the Oct. 8 Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.

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