Transportation is essential to North Carolina’s continued economic prosperity. As the state prepares to add two million more residents by 2030, it is important that we make strategic investments now to safeguard our transportation future and keep North Carolina’s economy moving forward in the coming decades. Fortunately, long-term transportation funding measures passed by state leaders last session – with the NC Chamber’s support – are already paying off. CSX Transportation, one of the nation’s four largest freight railroads, wants to build a world-class, state-of-the-art intermodal rail terminal right here in eastern North Carolina.
Intermodal transportation is the movement of goods in containers which can be easily transferred between different modes of transport, including trucks, trains, and cargo ships. These containers carry everything from the food we eat to the modern technology we rely on to stay connected into and out of North Carolina, so the ability to fully support intermodal transportation is key for any state that hopes to keeps its commerce lifelines linked to regional, national and global marketplaces in the 21st century economy. The intermodal facility envisioned by CSX, dubbed the Carolina Connector (CCX), would bring $90 million to the state’s economy in its first year of operation, create $329 million in long-term public benefits, and add 1,500 statewide jobs over time. As has been seen with similar terminals, jobs created would come not only from retailers and other businesses establishing logistics centers around the facility, but also from local businesses providing goods and services directly to the terminal.
Even better, the CCX terminal would position North Carolina as a major regional logistics and transportation hub, providing our vital port system with better access to major regional markets and helping to strengthen connections between nonurban communities and the commerce hubs located in more urban areas. As outlined in the North Carolina Chamber Foundation’s recent study on Spreading Economic Opportunity Across North Carolina, establishing these connections will be a key factor in implementing a successful statewide economic development strategy that spread growth opportunities to all North Carolina communities. The CCX will be good for the environment too, as freight rail is one of the most environmentally friendly modes of land transportation, and the facility is expected to help cut statewide CO2 emissions by 400,000 tons.
The impacts of a major intermodal facility would ultimately expand to benefit all North Carolinians. CSX continues to publicly express interest in pursuing the CCX project, and the NC Chamber is taking to the airwaves this week to support the efforts to get the project up and running. Radio ads are running on WTSB AM 1090 in Johnston County and Chamber CEO Lew Ebert joined Mickey Lamm live this week to discuss the project. We are encouraging Johnston County residents and public officials to do all they can to send a message that projects like the CCX are more than welcome in North Carolina. Let’s make sure we keep North Carolina’s economy moving forward!
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber