This week CSX announced Rocky Mount, NC as the home of the Carolina Connector Intermodal Terminal. The Carolinas Gateway Partnership, which touts itself as, “A public-private industrial recruitment agency dedicated to the economic development of the Eastern North Carolina counties of Nash and Edgecombe” claims the state of the art terminal will create high paying jobs in Rocky Mount, deliver improved transportation options and help drive economic growth.
Along with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, CGP estimates the $270 million project will bring 300 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs to Rocky Mount, and more than 1,500 jobs statewide over time. The terminal will act as a crucial cog in the freight industry, sorting, holding, and rerouting cargo containers between trucks and trains.
It wasn’t too long ago that the project was on its death bed. In January, Governor McCrory announced that the hub would be located in Johnston County. The negative feedback was immediate and overwhelming from landowner and residents. Two weeks later the project was declared dead.
About that time, the head of CGP, Norris Tolson, took it upon his own initiative to contact executives with CSX and offer to help find a solution in Nash or Edgecombe County. After visiting a couple of sites, CSX determined one would fit their needs. By the end of May, Tolson had secured 700 acres of land, and the project got the lifeline it needed.
What makes this story a winner is that several leaders stepped up, crossed party lines, and brought much-needed economic benefit to a state where unemployment rates are among the highest in the country (5.1%). In a time where every city, state, and county is looking for innovative ways to fund important projects, it is good to see that hard work, determination, and cooperation ended up being the magic formula.
Now go enjoy the day.