Here’s what people are saying about CSX’s proposal to build a cargo-container hub in Johnston County.
N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler: “I had no previous knowledge of this project until I learned about it in the press, and I came out of my seat when I saw that eminent domain could be used to acquire the land for it. The proposed transportation hub is a major step for North Carolina, but not at the expense of private property rights.
“I’ve long been an advocate for conserving working farms in North Carolina. They are an extremely valuable part of our economy. Some of the farms that would be affected by the CSX hub have been in the same family for a century or more, and these landowners deserve to make their own decisions about the future of their land, not have the decision forced upon them by a private company.”
Donald Bryson, state director of Americans for Prosperity: “Forcibly removing people, homes and businesses from private land through eminent domain is not an effective or appropriate tool for economic development in North Carolina. Our General Assembly protected residents from forced annexation by cities, and it’s time to offer the same relief to families facing state government overreach onto their private property.”
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Bryson spoke specifically to the case of Trent Lassiter, who owns The Farm, a meeting and events venue on land that has been in his family for generations: “The forced condemnation of Trent Lassiter’s family farm for CSX’s use is a tragic example of how unfair eminent domain laws are to the people of North Carolina. Trent Lassiter already operates a business on his family’s land and deserves decision rights over transfer of ownership to another private enterprise like CSX.”
Dr. Greg Brannon, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate: “This issue could not be more clear. Property rights are foundational to our liberty and to our nation. If you can lose control of your property to a government and their chosen business interests, then you lose control of your life.”
Connie Majure-Rhett, president and chief executive of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce: “This is an unprecedented project for the state with numerous benefits to our ports and southeastern North Carolina. The Carolina Connector will improve rail capabilities by connecting Eastern North Carolina directly to CSX’s extensive rail network, which will have direct positive effects on businesses inside and outside our region that use our ports.”
Mark Otto of the Cleveland community, Republican candidate for Congress: I believe taking people’s family farms by force in order to benefit huge corporations is just wrong. Our multi-generational farmers are quite literally being freight-trained into submission by CSX and the politicians who are more interested in re-election than representation. Eminent domain abuse must end; I will fight for the farm!”
On Facebook: There’s a time and place for everything. If the ground is still being farmed, that’s not the place. If it’s already been commercialy developed, it would come down to a price. Don’t get me wrong, the family farm means the world to me. Just remember the railroad is very powerful, and they would be creating good-paying jobs.