The problem with subsidies

There are lots of questions swirling around about the CSX Intermodal Rail Hub, which was supposed to be coming to Rocky Mount and receiving $100 million in subsidies from North Carolina taxpayers – as much as $700,000 per job created by the project.  It’s been controversial from the beginning, and you can catch up on all the history here.

But now, all of a sudden, it looks like it may not be coming after all.  Our own Rick Henderson of Carolina Journal reported that the project is dead.  Triangle Business Journal was a bit more tentative but quoted the CSX’s CEO as saying, “I can’t tell you what the outcome is going to be.”

All of this illustrates why subsidies like those offered to CSX are a bad idea.  Even $100 million isn’t enough to ensure that a project like this happens.  Companies, rightly, make those decisions based on a whole range of market factors and business plans.  Government should stay out of it.

Julie Tisdale / City and County Policy Analyst

Julie Tisdale is City and County Policy Analyst at the John Locke Foundation. Before coming to the Locke Foundation as the research publications coordinator, she worked at the...

Reader Comments