Will County Commissioners Derail CSX Terminal?

Sources tell WTSB News that Johnston County Commissioners will be discussing a controversial CSX terminal during a closed session of the Board (tonight) Wednesday at 6:30pm

After CSX announced Jan. 14th they planned to locate a major regional transportation hub between Selma and Micro the decision has been met with criticism from property owners who will be forced from their homes, farms and businesses to make way for the 450 acre terminal.

Trent Lassiter, owner of The Farm, appeared on WTSB Radio Tuesday afternoon to discuss how he is fighting efforts by CSX to take his family farm and business to turn into a large transportation hub, called an Intermodal Terminal.
Trent Lassiter, owner of The Farm, appeared on WTSB Radio Tuesday afternoon to discuss how he is fighting efforts by CSX to take his family farm and business to turn into a large transportation hub, called an Intermodal Terminal.

Among those upset with the project is Trent Lassiter, owner of The Farm, an entertainment venue just off Interstate 95 in Micro.  Lassiter has started a social media campaign to save his business and farmland that has been in Lassiter family name since the 1700’s. 

Landowners have been critical of CSX for wanting to take their land, and of county leaders for keeping the deal quiet and not holding any public hearings to gather feedback from residents who would be effected. Property owners were not contacted until CSX held a teleconference with local media last Thursday morning at 10:00am. Landowners said they started getting knocks on their door by land acquisition representations about the same time.

Lassiter said while a few property owners may want to sell CSX some acreage, the majority of landowners impacted don’t want to sale regardless of the price.     

US Representative David Rouzer (NC-07) whose district includes Johnston County said he has concerns about the way property owners have been treated.  “I initially thought this project would be a very good thing for everyone involved.  However, it has become increasingly apparent over the past few days through my conversations with land owners affected, constituents, and other elected officials in the county, that there are significant and valid concerns.  Personally, I became very concerned this past Friday after learning that the land owners impacted have had no input on this project.  This matter should not be forced, and I am confident the appropriate local and state officials will work towards a resolution that is best for all.”

CSX-4The terminal, called “The Carolina Connector” or CCX, will serve as a major regional transportation hub as well as a catalyst for economic growth in the region, according to CSX. 

The terminal will be a place where freight containers are transferred between different modes of transportation – for example, trains and trucks – enabling the conversion of long haul freight from highway to rail.

CSX will be investing $150 million towards $272 million price of the project. The railroad company is pursuing $100 million from the State of North Carolina.

Officials say the terminal will create 250-300 short-term construction jobs. Once opened in 2019, the terminal will create 300 permanent jobs with an average salary of $60,000.

CSX has numerous intermodal terminals including locations in Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Charleston, Dallas, Columbus, Ohio, Central Florida, and Buffalo, NY.  

However, the proposed Johnston County terminal could be derailed before construction even begins. County commissioners will meet in closed session Wednesday night. Several hundred protesters are expected at the meeting. WTSB News has also learned additional security measures will be in place at the Johnston County Courthouse.

CSX Still Committed To Project
In a press release Tuesday afternoon, CSX said, “…we have heard from supporters of the project as well as concerned citizens. We are committed to working with, listening to and investing in Johnston County throughout this process, which is in its earliest stages.”

CSX-3“There will be no shortcuts in this process. Elected officials and community members will have the opportunity to ask questions, challenge our assumptions, and understand how CCX will operate and the benefits it can bring to the community. CSX will work extensively with the community every step of the way. We are confident that we can deliver this project and all of its benefits while accommodating concerns voiced by some members of the community.”

“We are beginning a lengthy dialogue with community members who own property where the proposed facility will be constructed. These discussions are extremely sensitive. CSX is committed to working closely with each individual owner to address his or her specific concerns.”


Project Phases: CCX Intermodal Terminal


Preliminary engineering and design; property acquisition


Complete permitting process


Begin construction


Complete construction; begin terminal operations

Additional information about CCX is available at www.CSX.com/CarolinaIntermodal.