News: Quick Takes

CSX remains unclear about future of Carolina Connector

State has spent more than $4 million preparing for rail hub

While state officials say they are not aware that CSX has changed its plans to build a $272 million rail hub in Edgecombe County, a company spokesman says new leaders at the rail giant are reviewing all planned projects.

The state has spent more than $4 million of the proposed $100 million taxpayer incentive on the Carolina Connector project.

In an email, CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle told Carolina Journal the company would not definitively say the rail hub would be completed:

In an effort to enhance CSX’s operating performance, provide a superior service product for our customers and create value for shareholders, CSX’s new leadership team is conducting a comprehensive, strategic review of all aspects of our business, including our intermodal business and existing and planned infrastructure projects. Intermodal service will remain an important part of CSX’s business. Any changes will be communicated directly with CSX customers and other stakeholders.

CSX appreciates the partnership we have developed with the State of North Carolina and we look forward to continuing the dialogue with the State about the Carolina Connector (CCX) and our plans moving forward.

A report last week from the trade website Train News Wire said the project near Rocky Mount was dead.

“The developments are part of CEO E. Hunter Harrison’s drive to improve efficiency and profitability,” Train News Wire said.

Meantime, NCDOT spokesman Steve Abbott says, to his knowledge, the project is on track. In an email, Abbott said:

We are not aware that CSX has canceled the project. To date, NCDOT has spent $4,316,057.27 for preliminary engineering to include required studies and design work. If needed, the state would exercise its authority to be reimbursed.

A CJ review of Edgecombe County property records shows CSX has acquired the land necessary for the project.

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