Johnston County CSX site no longer a ‘viable option,’ McCrory says

CSX meeting in Smithfield, N.C. (WNCN)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Pat McCrory said a site in Johnston County planned for a CSX shipping terminal is not “a viable option.”

The CSX project is scheduled to build a huge shipping terminal in Selma. It was announced Jan. 14, and the company said it will be an intermodal transportation hub that will create hundreds of jobs.

The estimated cost of the project is $272 million.

The office of McCrory released a statement Tuesday on the proposed site for CSX in Johnston County.

“Based on the vote of local officials as well as serious land issues, the current site in Johnston County does not appear to be a viable option. We will continue to work with CSX to explore alternative sites in order to create jobs and enhance our state ports,” McCrory’s office said.

CSX did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The announcement has been met with fierce opposition from local and state officials.

RELATED: Johnston Co. leaders decide against planned site for CSX hub

The Johnston County Commissioners decided Wednesday night that they did not support the location of a CSX rail hub in the county.

“The commissioners were not going to be a party to any type of eminent domain threat on the property owners,” said Tony Braswell, chairman of the board of commissioners.

Braswell said Tuesday commissioners were “happy” about the project initially but grew concerned soon after, as they started hearing from people who would be impacted.

RELATED: Planned CSX rail hub in Johnston Co. draws opposition

Some in Johnston County, like Trent Lassiter, are trying to stop the approaching trains.

Land owned by Lassiter and his family goes back to colonial times. A representative of CSX told him that lands was part of what was needed to build the 450-acre cargo hub the company is planning.

“He was here to buy our family farm and buy my business. It wasn’t a question of if it was going to happen or not. It was going to happen,” Lassiter recalled. “It’s not about money. It’s not for sale.”

Lassiter launched a social media campaign, creating a Facebook page called “Fight for the Farm,” which had more than 8,500 likes as of Tuesday. He’s also spent much of his time talking to the governor and other elected officials in an effort to try to stop the project from moving forward.

Lassiter said his fight with the railroad isn’t just about him and his business any longer. To him, it’s about his neighbors and the community.

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