So, the South Carolina Speaker of the House says a top priority is growing the number of jobs coming into The Palmetto State from electric vehicles and batteries. And one way to do that is to invest in mega-sites in rural counties. Well, Murrell Smith, look no further than Clinton, South Carolina. We have one of those -- well, kinda.
We have a huge tract on the other side of I-26 -- you know, the highway that connects Spartanburg to Charleston if you can get through Malfunction Junction. The State gave it to us along with most of the Whitten Center property, which the state doesn’t need anymore, and we are planning to build a side entrance, since the SC Department of Transportation will not move its maintencne shed - that property would be the perfect front entrance.
It seems SC DOT has a “strategic” location right there in the perfect spot for entering our mega-site. Consolidating both their Laurens County locations into one complex on either I-26 or I-385 just does not seem to make sense to anyone.
In any event, we have a mega-site - now, what to do with it?
Well, according to Speaker Smith talking to WIS-TV, one would think that we should let Commerce know and market it for “green” vehicles ($15 Billion in SC so far). Despite the “rural” outreach for these projects, the two largest are just outside of Columbia and Charleston. Go figure.
Part of the WIS-TV on-line article says:
“‘You look at what North Carolina did over the past few years. They invested into mega-sites, and then they had a lot of success in locating expansive industries and new technology industries as a result of having shovel-ready sites,’ Smith said. Looking ahead to next year, the Speaker wants to see more done to address childcare and transportation needs for workers, along with utility modernization. Smith said the state is especially focused on bringing more of these investments and jobs to rural counties.
“‘Right now, there’s a lot of interest,’ he said.
Commerce is getting $200 million to purchase and develop shovel-ready sites, especially for CHIPs, semiconductors, circuit board producers, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, research and development. To make that happen, SC has to “rev up” its workforce.
AND, have a talk with its Republican Congresspeople. Part of the current debt ceiling talks is a GOP demand to “slow down” the electric vehicles industry; Volvo in South Carolina already has taken note of the GOP demands. So, if we want the JOBS of electric cars, we have to show at least a little respect at the Congressional level FOR electric cars. To do otherwise would be ... well, you know.
Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle. In June, Vic will observe his 50th year in community journalism. Reach him at 864-833-1900.
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