Local News

Four Oaks leaders head to Ohio to check out CSX facilities

Posted April 20, 2016 12:08 p.m. EDT
Updated April 20, 2016 7:21 p.m. EDT

— Johnston County Commissioner Ted Godwin was among a group of local leaders making the trip Wednesday to Ohio to observe CSX facilities there as the company considers plans to add a North Carolina hub.

Plans to build a $272 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.

Chris Johnson of the Johnston County Economic Development Office said Godwin and others would inspect the Ohio location and return Wednesday evening.

"They just wanted to see it," Johnson said.

Four Oaks Mayor Linwood Parker, whom opponents of the rail hub accuse of promising land without their permission, has said the ultimate decision is up to CSX and the state.

At a packed meeting Monday night, speakers including U.S. Senate candidate Greg Brannon, blasted the plan.

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

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.

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