Port of Charleston projected freight growth will cost residents congestion and pollution penalties

Earlier this week, in At Port of Charleston, big ships are already here, with more on the way a Charleston Post and Courier reporter quoted the president of the South Carolina Ports Authority as saying the volume of freight through the Port of Charleston will increase by 25 percent in the next four years.

What he didn’t discuss is the impact this will have on traffic congestion and air pollution. This growth will make a bad situation worse.  As reported just a few months ago in the same paper in Road woes: Growing congestion threatens to choke Charleston port traffic, commerce.

“It won’t be long, Schrum said, before those roads start to choke growth at the Port of Charleston, which is among the nation’s best at getting truckers in and out of its gates quickly only to dump them onto overcrowded interstates 526 and 26.

Those interstates get a grade of “D” or worse at various times during the day because of their congestion, according to the state Department of Transportation. The most congested I-26 stretch — just west of Ashley Phosphate Road in North Charleston and a few miles from where the highway meets I-526 — sees an average of 132,700 vehicles daily, DOT statistics show, a 32.3 percent increase from 2006 figures.”

And of course, idling trucks emit more pollution, which increases negative health impacts and health care costs for residents. 

Is this a surprise to the ports authority?  It shouldn’t be.  As far back as 2009, the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League projected that expansion of the Port of Charleston would cost tens of millions of dollars in increased health care costs. For more on that, see Estimated Health Impacts of the Proposed Charleston Navy Complex Terminal.

Would you like to see the Port of Charleston and other ports cleaned up, so that nearby communities don’t suffer from port air pollution, cancer, and other health effects?

You can be a part of the solution.  Please click below, and take one minute to sign our petition to the EPA asking them to regulate ports like they regulate other dangerous, polluting facilities.