Commissioners Change Course, Endorse CSX Project

Johnston County Commissioners held a special called meeting Wednesday night to discuss an economic development opportunity.

After emerging from the closed session, commissioners voted to adopt a Resolution of Support for CSX in Johnston County, just over 2 months after they pulled their support for the project.

The resolution was signed by Chairman Tony Braswell.

“We, the Johnston County Board of Commissioners, commit our support for locating an intermodal terminal in Johnston County. We look forward to the opportunity to bring an intermodal terminal, and its subsequent public benefits to Johnston County…”

The resolution sited the economic impacts of the major project and the opportunity for long-term growth, substantial new capital investments, increased economic activity and the possibility of “secondary industries locating to the surrounding areas” as the reasons for their support.

“Existing large and small businesses, both statewide and within Johnston County will benefit from lower shipping costs and access to national and global markets, increasing their economic competitiveness.”

In January, CSX announced plans for a $272 million terminal between Selma and Micro. It was immediately met with opposition from some property owners who did not want to sell their land.

On January 20th, county commissioners dropped their support for the 450-acre project based on concerns about eminent domain.

In Wednesday night’s resolution, the Commissioners urged “…engagement with affected property owners prior to and throughout the process to work toward a beneficial outcome… the Board of Commissioners will work with residents, elected officials, business leaders and other stakeholders throughout the development process in order to bring an intermodal terminal to Johnston County.

The resolution will be sent to Governor Pay McCrory and members of the NC General Assembly who represent Johnston County.
4 Chambers Now Endorse Project
After weeks of no known activity on the CSX project, the Smithfield Selma Chamber of Commerce issued a press release Monday afternoon saying they were in support of the terminal.  Within 24 hours, the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, Benson Chamber of Commerce and the NC Chamber of Commerce all adopted nearly identical resolutions supporting the terminal and the jobs and economic development it would bring.

CSX Statement
WTSB News reached out to CSX for any new update on the proposed project.  Kristin Seay, a CSX Corporate Communications spokesperson, released a statement Tuesday saying, “CSX appreciates the support for the CCX intermodal rail terminal recently voiced by local organizations and community members. We continue to be committed to this infrastructure project which will create jobs, deliver a distinct competitive advantage for large and small businesses, and spur economic development. We look forward to working with all interested stakeholders to move the project forward.”

After the terminal was met with opposition at the Selma-Micro site in January, Four Oaks officials have been trying to lure the railroad to a tract of land just south of their city limits.  CSX and county officials are not commenting on the possible location of the terminal.