Class I railroad CSX to establish new freight railroad estimated at $272 million in Rocky Mount instead of Johnston County.

State officials, including Governor Pat McCrory, announced on Tuesday at Wesleyan College, North Carolina, that the project will receive $122,1 million in state financial incentives. The intermodal terminal is set to transport containers up and down the east coast of the country. CSX will receive financial rewards from the state on condition that it meets the aspired employment goals, which include maintaining the 876 jobs it already has in the state, and that it invests $16 million in the facility by 31 December 2024.

CSX Intermodal is the nation’s only stand-alone integrated intermodal company serving customers from origin to destination with its own truck and terminal operations plus a dedicated domestic container fleet. Credit: Develop Union

These financial rewards were approved by North Carolina’s Economic Investment Committee and consist of the following: $11 million in performance incentives from the Department of Transportation, $7,8 million in intermodal tax credits and $4,3 million in Job Development Grants.

The project, coined Carolina Connector, is set to create 149 jobs in the Rocky Mount, which is the region with the second-highest unemployment rate in the state. The average wage expected from these jobs will be $64,047 per annum, whereas the current average wage in Edgecombe County, N.C., amounts to $32,725. Throughout the eastern coast, Carolina Connector is expected to create between 250 and 300 short-term jobs and 300 long-term jobs.
CSX predicted that because one regional train can carry a load of the equivalent of 280 trucks, the state of North Carolina will save $16 million in highway maintenance costs. According to a statement given by Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III reported in ABC 11 News; the project will “enhance connections among suppliers and buyers in a way that spins off exciting opportunities for job growth throughout North Carolina.”
In addition to the potential benefits the project will bring about, officials mentioned that the trains would improve air quality by the amount of trucks needed to transport goods will decrease due to the large capacity each train will be able to carry.
Governor Pat McCrory is scheduled to give an announcement on economic development at Port Wilmington today, following that which he gave at Rocky Mount.

Why the shift in location?

The Carolina Connector was initially supposed to occupy 45o acres of land in the South Carolina region where the project was meant to alleviate congestion caused by trucks transporting containers. However, residents of Johnston County and Four Oaks where the project was expected to take place were not consulted until January and as a result, they were in disagreement.

Some of the reasons for the opposition were related to fear of noise, light, and pollution. Other residents did not want to sell their plots of land to make way for the railroad’s construction.

Source: News Observer