There has been a lot media buzz over the last week since the announcement by CSX over its Central Carolina Connector (CCX) intermodal hub in Johnston County. I would like to state my position, and what I believe is the position of most in the business community, regarding this project. First, I want to disclose that my partner in our law firm represents CSX. I am not involved in that matter. I am writing as a member of the General Assembly who knows the needs of our county very well. I am not running for re-election.
First of all, this is not a transportation project; CCX is an exceptional economic catalyst project. Second, CCX will not bring economic benefits only to Johnston County (or wherever its final location is), it will bring benefits to the eastern region of North Carolina and also to the entire state.
The proposed CCX intermodal hub is unlike anything that exists in the southeastern United States. CCX will be a true “connector” within the CSX railroad network. What this means is that North Carolina businesses will have very efficient access to a national transportation network for moving goods and products quickly and at a cost advantage.
These advantages will translate into an extremely competitive position to attract businesses. Distribution centers, warehouses, logistics consolidators will gravitate to the CCX hub as a preferred location to establish business. Manufacturers will view proximity to the CCX as a competitive advantage to distribute their products throughout the United States and also to receive supply parts for assembly. These new businesses will add jobs and stimulus to our state and most importantly in rural areas where job creation is desperately needed. It would do wonders for Kenly, Micro and Selma.
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Our port of Wilmington will have direct intermodal rail access to the hub. The ability to efficiently move imports and exports containers from Wilmington to the CCX will make our ports much more competitive and generate many more international supply chain choices for our North Carolina companies.
The CCX will also reduce truck traffic on our highways like Interstate 95, I-85 and I-40. Each intermodal train will carry the cargo equivalent to about 280 truckloads, which will reduce emissions and road hazards.
The Central Carolina Connector will generate economic advantages for our businesses around the state, drive job growth, bring safety and environmental benefits and make our great state more competitive. Let’s encourage our elected officials to focus on this opportunity. It’s our best chance to help Johnston County continue its path to higher paying jobs and restoring our middle class.
State Rep. N. Leo Daughtry
The writer, a Republican, represents N.C. District 26. The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response.