ROCKY MOUNT, NC (WTVD) --Governor Pat McCrory and CSX officials announced Tuesday that the railroad giant is moving a controversial cargo terminal project to the Rocky Mount area.
CSX had planned to build the $272 million rail hub in Johnston County, but quickly ran into opposition from local residents in the Selma area who didn't want to lose their homes and land to make way for the huge project. A second location in the Four Oaks area also drew opposition from residents concerned about noise, light, and air pollution.
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Governor McCrory said Tuesday the project will mean 1,500 jobs for the state.
"This is a game changer," he said.
McCrory said the project will mean the faster transfer of goods across the state and will have a huge economic impact.
"This is a game changer for Wilmington and it's a game changer for Charlotte," said McCrory.
The project will be called the "Carolina Connector". CSX said it will be used to transfer 260,000 cargo shipping containers between trucks and trains each year initially.
"This historic project is part of our 25-year vision for transportation because it facilitates efficient and cost-effective movement of goods, which is critical for job creation and economic growth," said McCrory.
CSX said it will invest $160 million in the project. North Carolina's Transportation Department will contribute $100 million for track improvements as well as terminal infrastructure. CSX will also get a Job Development Investment Grant worth as much as $4.3 million.
About 150 workers will be employed directly at the new facility at salaries averaging $64,000 a year. Officials said the current average wage in Edgecombe County is $32,725.
"The Carolina Connector intermodal hub will do far more than provide new jobs in Rocky Mount," said Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III. "It will enhance connections among suppliers and buyers in a way that spins off exciting opportunities for job growth throughout North Carolina."
Officials touted the environmental value of the project - saying trains reduce wear and tear on highways and improve air quality as one train can carry the equivalent of 280 truck loads.
"The close proximity of Rocky Mount to CSX's main north-south line, I-95 and the future I-87 and I-42 corridors, as well as convenient access to the Raleigh economic center made this an ideal location for a regional transportation hub," N.C. Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said.
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