Local News

As opposition mounts, Four Oaks awaits decision on CSX hub

Posted April 18
Updated April 20

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— People opposed to a CSX cargo hub in Johnston County had their chance to speak out Monday evening.

Plans to build a $72 million cargo terminal, known as the Carolina Connector, in the town of Four Oaks have drawn concern from landowners who fear the project may mean they have to sell their property.

It was a full house at Monday night's meeting at Four Oaks Elementary School and speakers included U.S. Senate candidate Greg Brannon, who spoke against the project and was critical of elected officials who support the plan, which could require the use of eminent domain.

"The only function of a good government is to protect the individuals private property," Brannon said.

Four Oaks residents and town leaders are anxious to know if the hub will end up in Four Oaks, but Mayor Linwood Parker said city leaders have come as far as they can to influence a decision. They are now leaving it up to CSX and state leaders to determine what will happen next.

“I never believed the world would come to an end if this project did not come to Four Oaks and I never believed the streets would be paved in gold if it did,” said Parker in a statement. “Not matter what the result, we will get up and continue to move our town and community forward.”

In January, the Governor's Office declared that the previously proposed Selma site was "not a viable option" for the project.

Parker said he has met with the Department of Transportation, the state Department of Commerce, and Rep. Leo Daughtry to make them aware of mounting opposition to the project. However, Parker said he still supports the project, citing the Department of Commerce, which said it could bring some 8,000 jobs over the next five years and an additional 20,000 in 15 years.

“It had been my great hope that we could land it here and be able to hand that down to the future generations and give them an item that would put them a little ahead of the curve,” Parker said. “If our forefathers could have accomplished this, it was my belief we could too and thereby leave our children an opportunity to compete in the global economy.”

The Department of Commerce also said that the railroad has the potential to attract new industries, enhance opportunities for current businesses, and reduce congestion on major highways with trains carrying loads equivalent to 280 trucks.

Daughtry said he believes Four Oaks will have an answer about the future of the hub within days. He said the CSX project is considered to be the number one project for the DOT and qualifies for $100 million funding from the state.

The project would be a public/private partnership with $150 million invested by CSX.

2 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Eric Hammond Apr 19, 2016
    user avatar

    While I fully support the increased use of rail as a far more efficient means of transport, I do have a problem with the misuse of eminent domain for the benefit (aka. share holder enrichment) of a for - profit company!
    This reeks of the old days of rail when the rail owners stole land from farmers at will - the source of the term "Robber Barons".
    I would like to point out 2 things to Rep Daughtry: 1) The GOP controlled legislature has tried, unfortunately succeeding in some cases , legislating your way against "job killing regulations", but laws against Trespassing, Theft, Breach of contract, guaranteeing religious freedom and freedom of speech are NOT "job killing regulations" they are FUNDAMENTAL American RIGHTS!
    and 2) Nowhere in the Constitution, Bill of Rights is a company granted rights! "companies" aren't granted the inalienable human rights by the Declaration of Independence! Only the NC Constitutions grants the right to sue and be sued to companies... nothing more!

  • Fanny Chmelar Apr 19, 2016
    user avatar

    "The only function of a good government is to protect the individuals private property," Brannon said, when he actually meant to say "... secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens."

    The government won't protect them over property. If CSX does end up there, then the citizens should work to ensure those new jobs don't land them in the pile of "cheap labor that needs public assistance to make that paycheck actually work."