Tea Partier in Name Only Larry Grooms has abandoned an amendment that would have yanked funding from any municipality that sues the state.
The amendment was solely targeted at the City of North Charleston, which plans to sue the state over a controversial Commerce Department rail plan. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey and the city believe the state's rail plan — which would create a new rail terminal on the northern half of the Navy Yard — violates a 2002 memorandum of understanding. Which, of course, it does.
Well, according to the Charleston Regional Business Journal, Grooms has decided not to support his amendment.
Because the S.C. House of Representatives did not include Grooms’ amendment in its version of the budget, its fate would next be in the hands of a conference committee of delegates from both the House and Senate.
Grooms said Monday that he is asking Senate conference committee members not to support his amendment. After sharing his concerns with North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, Grooms said “there seems to be a willingness to work toward a solution” on the rail issue.
He said he agreed to withdraw support for the budget amendment “to keep the dialogue moving,” although Grooms said he still doesn’t think it makes sense financially for the city to sue the state.
Now, according to the Biz Journal, Grooms is hoping that all parties will agree to a compromise, a compromise that the City Paper first reported on in April.
Grooms theoretical compromise will nix the state's plan for a rail terminal on the northern end of the Navy Yard and move it to the southern end of the old base, sparing the city's redevelopment efforts in the area from certain doom.
However, Groom's compromise would send more trains through Park Circle — giving Norfolk Southern a new route to and from the new port terminal and its intermodal facility.
The senator told the CP he believes that even though the rejuvinated Park Circle area will be beset by more trains, the trains will move through the neighborhood more efficiently. He says the plans involve:
...removing an existing Norfolk Southern line that runs along I-526 and over North Rhett Avenue and replacing it with new tracks that should double the speed of trains through the corridor. Grooms also talked about improving areas where trains currently grind to a halt, interrupting the flow of traffic on North Charleston roadways.
Grooms also told us that a compromise would involve giving both Norfolk Southern and CSX, the rail company that has presented the more Navy Yard- and Park Circle-friendly plan, equal access to the new terminal. But to do that, the senator has proposed that a third-party would operate the terminal.
And just exactly who would that third party be, in our opinion?
Well, the state-run S.C. Public Railways, the very same entity that would manage the rail terminal in the state Commerce plan. (In the CSX plan, the terminal at the southern end of the Navy Yard would be managed by CSX, but they would allow Norfolk Southern to have access to the terminal at cost.)
This is really the crux of the matter here, ladies and gentlemen: It's not about making sure that both rail companies have "equal" access to the new terminal as Grooms, Sen. Hugh Leatherman, and their comrades have claimed. The CSX plan gives both rail firms equal access. It's that the state wants to run the new terminal and make money off of it.
I don't know about you, but to me, that sounds like socialism.
Larry Grooms has decided that the state is better suited to managing a new rail terminal than a private company. He believes that it is just not fair that CSX has a slight competitive advantage over Norfolk Southern, an advantage that CSX earned through their hard work. He believes that the free market in this case has failed.
Which is odd, because this is what Grooms had to say on May 25 on his Facebook page in response to the House's flip-flop on the Amazon sales tax exemption:
It seems everyone believes in individual liberty but when it comes to large corporations, many believe in socialism’s principle of the government deciding which businesses are preferable to others. I believe in the blessings of liberty and free markets, too bad a majority of the Senate believes in the blessing of government and social central planning.
And that majority would include you, Larry, you commie pinko bastard.