CSX’s CCX Facility Project hits the first hurdle

The proposed CCX facility that will serve as a major hub connecting NC ports to the entire CSX rail network is estimated to bring well over $300 million in long term public benefits, and almost $100 million in benefits to the state’s economy in the first year. The CCX project, as with most projects, will hit some snags along the way. Nearly two hundred Four Oaks residents and business owners gathered for the Four Oak’s Town Hall on April 11, 2016. However only 30 landowners and residents were allowed into the hall for the meeting, most speaking out on the proposed $272 million CSX rail hub. Although the Mayor was trying to focus on the job creation and local economic boost, the residents were far more concerned with losing their homes and property to the project. Mayor Linwood Parker stated that CSX would pay $18.5 million for 450 acres (approx. $25,000 per acre) through eminent domain according to some news reports, however there has been some discussion on whether CSX has even gone down the eminent domain road at this point. This land buy would cover the room for the mega-transportation hub for loading and unloading containers from freight trains to the trucks. The mayor has reportedly sent a letter to Governor Pat McCrory and CSX supporting the project, even if eminent domain is required. Parker’s tone changed towards the end, stating he never wanted to disappoint the people in Four Oaks he considered friends. He also stated he would push for the fair treatment of all the landowners. Only one of the people who spoke was actually for the project, the rest of the folks were seemingly against the project. Some of which included emotional responses, including Georgia Adams who stated while holding back tears “There’s no land for sale!” Many folks were unhappy with the thought that they would be forced to sell their land to make room for the hub, and deal with the issues regarding noise pollution. The added jobs, increase in traffic for local businesses and other town benefits from the facility didn’t seem to have much sway with Four Oaks residents. How this will effect the project is unknown at the moment, and the Mayor, CSX and transportation representatives for the state have a higher than expected hill to climb, even though the original proposal looks like such a massive win for the high unemployment rates for these NC small towns and it is a major component of Governor McCrory’s long term transportation plan. The governor as well as the North Carolina Ports Authority stand behind the proposed facility and the benefits it will bring to the state. They will have some more selling to the local residents to handle, who it will have an immediate impact on.
Eric Nelson

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