Governor's Office: Johnston County CSX location no longer viable option

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The governor's office said it now appears the current proposed site in Johnston County does not appear to be a viable option.

A spokesperson for Gov. Pat McCrory released a statement Tuesday on the proposed site for CSX in Johnston County.

It reads: "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."

The governor's office later clarified that Johnston County remains in play for the CSX site, but that the location was the issue.

Still, the news from the governor's office left residents cautiously optimistic.

"We know we're not out of the woods just yet," said Dwight Baker, a concerned resident. "Until CSX finds and confirms that they have another place to go, we're all still going to be on pins and needles."

The rail company planned to build "a new intermodal terminal in Eastern Johnston County called the Carolina Connector, or CCX," according to its website.

Though he could be in the clear, Baker has other things on his mind, too.

"We don't want it to go to another neighborhood that's going to hurt other families," Baker said.

ABC11 reached out to CSX for comment but was unable to reach the company during the evening.

The decision for the location had many residents upset, as it meant they would lose their homes and land.

Jennifer Edwards was one of those. She told ABC11 on Tuesday night that she "never knew what (she) had here meant so much to someone else."

Edward had been devastated since learning that CSX wanted the 40 acres of Brown-Wall Road that has been in her family for generations.

Trent Lassiter, whose family has had land in Johnston County since the 1700's, created a campaign called "Fight for the Farm." The Facebook page has nearly 8,500 likes and is a rallying point for many residents.

The railroad company had kept plans secret until last week. Sources told ABC11 the only person who knew about it was Chris Johnson with the Johnston County Economic Development Office. He reportedly signed a non-disclosure agreement with CSX.

Other county commissions got wind of the project Dec. 7 with no details provided. They got an update on Jan. 4, but an official says they didn't know where CSX intended to build the rail transfer station.

CSX claims the project would have created up to 1,500 jobs statewide and saved the state millions of dollars in highway maintenance costs.

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