More than a half dozen chambers and town councils have adopted resolutions in support of a CSX terminal. Tuesday night, the small town of Micro let their voice be heard when they adopted a resolution opposed to an intermodal terminal between Selma and Micro.
Micro Mayor Jay Warren has a unique perspective other chamber presidents, mayors and city council members do not. Warren works for CSX and is a train engineer.
Warren said when the CSX first announced plans for the terminal in Johnston County on Jan. 14th he was optimistic. But over the next several days his optimism turned to opposition.
Warren said when he pulls a train into a CSX terminal near Portsmouth, Virginia he envisions how it would look in Johnston County. “When you get 2 to 3 miles from the terminal, it’s so bad. There is low income housing, container storage yards, truck trailer chassis storage yards, truck service yards. No one wants to live around it.”
The mayor said crime also increased around the Virginia terminal. “It’s so bad we could not go into the yard after dark, after midnight,” Warren said Wednesday. “Several conductors got robbed.”
Warren admits it would be an economic boost for Johnston County or where ever the terminal is built. “But it would cause more harm than good,” he added.
“It would devastate this town. No one would want to live here. It would happen to Selma too,” the mayor said. “I am sticking my neck out because I work for this company too. But I was elected as mayor to serve the people of Micro. Life would never be the same.”
Warren said he recently was discussing the terminal with another CSX employee who had been working at an intermodal terminal in Ohio. He said trains were parked on side tracks 2 to 4 miles from the entrance to the terminal. Many he said were stopped for hours or days at a time. “They talk about flyovers and EMS response times. It would be a mess. It would be the same thing here only on a greater scale.”
Warren admits he and the Micro Town Board are likely the “only sore thumb in the county” because they have voiced opposition while other towns and chambers have endorsed the project. But he adds, “The negative effects would far outweigh the positive. That’s what people need to know.”
Trent Lassiter, whose family has been leading the opposition to the terminal between Selma and Micro told WTSB he was pleased the Town of Micro took a stance.
“I’ve never been more proud to call Micro home as I am after the meeting last night. We appreciate the town listening to the local citizens and standing behind them. Although the town may see some benefits with the project, it’s very clear that the negative impact it would have on this community far outweighs the positive,” Lassiter said on Wednesday. “It’s reassuring to know that we have local elected officials that listen to their people. We appreciate the town, the county, and the Governor for standing behind us in this campaign.”
Both Lassiter and Mayor Warren say they are like others, waiting to hear from someone about whether the terminal will location in the county. Both agreed that residents deserve an update from the railroad on where the project stands so the community can get back to their normal lives.