The location of a CSX container hub, the Carolina Connector, in Rocky Mount means 149 more jobs for an area of North Carolina desperately in need of them. The hub will route freight aboard trucks and trains to destinations on the East Coast and all over the United States. The jobs will pay an average of $64,047 a year, a tremendous opportunity for people in an area with the second-highest unemployment rate in the state.
Norris Tolson, who heads the Carolinas Gateway Partnership – a public-private partnership that recruits industry – is a veteran state Democratic official and former business executive. He and the partnership tried to find CSX, which already has 876 jobs in North Carolina, some locations from which to choose. The company was unable to reach a deal in Johnston County, where some landowners objected to selling property for a project that needs hundreds of acres because of the volume of products and transportation needs related to rail.
CSX is getting a generous incentive package from the state, worth $122.1 million, but such incentives do require certain things of recipients, such as job creation goals that must be met, and also requirements that companies invest in the property themselves.
For the people of this part of North Carolina, where economic recovery has been slow, the coming of the CSX hub is a burst of good news.