A $12.1 million federal grant will boost Orangeburg County's development efforts by providing needed road work in Santee, according to Sixth District Congressman James E. Clyburn.
Clyburn announced Monday the county has received a $12.1 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant to create a southbound access ramp from U.S. Highway 301 to Interstate 95.
The project will also extend Highway 301 from the interchange to the site of the Jafza intermodal distribution center.
"Today's TIGER grant is an early Christmas present for the State of South Carolina," Clyburn said in a release. "This project will make a Continental Tire or Boeing aircraft-type project possible for Orangeburg County and the I-95 corridor."
Clyburn previously secured $10.3 million for the work. South Carolina is providing $3 million and Orangeburg County has secured $1 million.
This project, estimated to cost $26 million, is crucial to the full utilization of the Jafza center, Clyburn said. Jafza South Carolina LLC has plans to develop a logistics, manufacturing and distribution park on its 1,322 acres in Santee.
According to Orangeburg County's TIGER grant application, Jafza operators "expect the full distribution center to generate more than 6,000 jobs regionally in an area which is, and has been for decades, one of the nation's most economically disadvantaged."
In addition to the long-term impact on the local economy, the construction of the access ramp and 301 extension is estimated to create 404 jobs from 2012 to 2016, Clyburn's release said. Most of those jobs are expected to be created in Orangeburg County.
"Orangeburg County is thrilled with today's announcement of the TIGER grant to enhance the I-95/US 301 interchange that will create an opportunity for significant economic development along an economically challenged area on the I-95 corridor," Orangeburg County Administrator Bill Clark said in the release. He thanked Clyburn, Sen. Lindsey Graham and other members of the congressional delegation.
Clyburn, who is also the House Assistant Democratic Leader, said "This is a project I have been working on for more than a decade, and it is exciting to see it come together at a time when our rural communities along the I-95 corridor have been hit so hard by the economic downturn.
"Today is truly a great day in Orangeburg County."
* This story has been corrected from the original story to reflect Congressman James Clyburn previously secured $10.3 million for the project, not $14.9 million as his office originally reported.