Residents concerned about impact of new CSX cargo hub

Posted January 18, 2016
Updated January 20, 2016

— Residents in Selma and Kenly are concerned about plans to build a rail terminal in Johnston County.

Freight rail giant CSX said last Thursday that it plans to build a $272 million terminal east of Selma that will provide a major transshipment point for container cargo to and from North Carolina ports.

The Carolina Connector, or CCX terminal would connect eastern North Carolina directly to the CSX rail network. Trent Lassiter owns an entertainment venue in Selma called The Farm on land that has been in his family for generations, and he said moving the business to accommodate the new terminal would not be the same.

"If you don’t live on a farm or grow up on a farm, you don’t understand, but you can’t just build a business and have it mean the same as it does here. It’s just not the same," Lassiter said.

Johnston County Board of Commissioners chairman Tony Braswell told WRAL News that the county is working with CSX and state officials on solutions to address the community’s concerns.

Louis Renjel, CSX vice president for strategic infrastructure, said the company plans to hold a community meeting to discuss residents' concerns about the CCX. The date, time and location of the meeting haven't been set yet.

CSX is trying to assembly 450 acres for the terminal, and company representative began contacting landowners last week to discuss buying or taking options to buy their property, Renjel said.

"CSX doesn't have any quick-take, eminent domain powers," he said, noting opponents to the project have stirred up fears on social media that the company was going to seize all of the land it needs. "Some people want to pull the plug (on the CCX) before we've even had a conversation."

Because much of the land would need to be rezoned to accommodate a rail terminal, he said, residents have a second avenue in addition to CSX's community meeting to air their concerns and seek a compromise.

"This is a multi-year conversation," Renjel said, noting that construction on the CCX wouldn't begin before 2018.

CSX officials estimate the terminal would be a $329 million boon to the state over the next 30 years, employing 250 to 300 construction workers and creating 1,500 long-term jobs from economic growth, including warehouses and distribution centers that would likely locate nearby. The company's estimates are based on the impact of similar terminals it has built in North Baltimore, Ohio, and Chambersburg, Pa.

CCX will transfer everything from food to furniture to appliances between trucks and trains, linking the state port at Wilmington with businesses across the Southeast.

CSX has committed $150 million to the project and hopes to secure $100 million from the state's Strategic Transportation Investment fund. The remaining $22 million would come from other infrastructure and investment programs, the company said.


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  • Tommy Frieda Holloman Jan 26, 2016
    user avatar

    As far as helping eastern N.C. economics the state of N.C. and big money decided that when the I-40 plan was diverted to the Wilmington area instead of Morehead City...Hard for business to grow when they have no transportation infrastructure...Kinston would most probably have gotten the Fedex regional area if the interstate had gone east instead of toward the southeast beach areas depriving all of central eastern N.C. the chance to lure any kind of industry...

  • Tommy Frieda Holloman Jan 26, 2016
    user avatar

    If you are doing it to help traffic to the port( really only in Wilmington now as chosen by the State of N.C.) move it further south on I-95 to bring it closer to I-40, there's lots of room along both corridors for this venture...

  • Tim Britton Jan 20, 2016
    user avatar

    It is funny how no one cares about anyone else. Johnston County rubber stamps subdivisions everyday that puts traffic on our roads and over crowds our schools. The state builds by-passes like Hwy 70 around Clayton and Goldsboro that we all use. I am sure several of the people complaining about CSX have all used these by-passes. Somebody else's family farm was taken or ruined by the very by-passes that allow us to get to the beach faster or to our Job faster, but they had no say. Subdivisions built beside family farm land and make it hard for you to farm it and raises land prices so farmers cannot purchase it. I cannot believe that the County Commissioners caved, but as long as the same rules apply to everyone, stop construction on the by-passes, give the land back, stop building houses, stop the pipeline, cut all future plans for things that take peoples property. Sounds good to me, I would hate it if it was me, but stop the Hypocrisy and start caring about everyone

  • Linda Adams Jan 19, 2016
    user avatar

    For all the local & state elected officials that are running for election this year and may have had a hand in this CSX deal... seems kinda dumb to tick off so many folks if you are up for any public offices........just sayin'.

  • Mark Cooper Jan 19, 2016
    user avatar

    Comparing this to the Palestinians and the battle over land that has resulted in 1000's of deaths is just a wee bit over the top don't you think. No one is dying here on this topic.

    This is not a fight against the govt on principle, it is because it is happening "in my back yard". If it was a fight in principle they would have stood up for others land when it was claimed but I bet this is the first time most of these folks have been concerned with the principles of Eminent Domain. Every piece of land was someone's at some point. Maybe we could give it all back to the Native Americans as it was truly their land first.

    With the attitude of some here we would still be in the Stone Age. it would be 3000 miles to Cali as the crow files but 20,000 miles to drive because of this reasoning. Think of what that would do to the price of your Starbucks in the morning,

  • Donnie Dietrich Jan 19, 2016
    user avatar

    Isn't this the railroad owned by Warren Buffet? If so, no need to fight it. if NC doesn't agree to it, he'll just go ask his good buddy Obama and boom, it will be done.

  • John McCray Jan 19, 2016
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    Also, the $100m is also money that already is in the DOT's budget from the gas tax, they just want it earmarked for one large rail project. A rail project that will also increase shipping traffic at the Port of Wilmington.

  • John McCray Jan 19, 2016
    user avatar

    Interesting, everything I can find regarding the location of this facility is actually to the southwest of the Lassiter property. What it looks like, is he is trying to protect his business, The Farm, from having an shipping terminal down the road from it, seeing as how they have indoor and outdoor concert facilities that are based on being in a rural, agrarian, setting.

    Although, if this property is being considered for being part of the acquisition, I think that there are better locations in the direction of Selma that would offer the same level of access to the transportation facilities.

  • Laura Wood Jan 19, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    If we don't do something about the local economy in the area, imagine what it will be like in 20 years, when our children are wanting to raise their children here. They took tobacco away from many of us. I didn't see the impact then. I was a lot younger, however, my parents felt it. And now, I see it.

  • Shannon Barnes Jan 19, 2016
    user avatar

    For all of you who have commented that this is a great thing for CSX to come then I suggest you also give your home and land to them. I suggest you trade your children's heritage and home that dates back hundreds of years for a measly dollar bill. This is not about jobs, this is not about the economy. This is about a person's family heritage. This is about farm land that has been in families for generations and generations and should be passed down to the next generation. So my suggestion to you is don't be so quick to say that this is a great idea until you yourself are willing to let some big organization take away what you are saying it's okay for CSX to do to these families.