Cherokee County railroad in limbo
N.C. Rep. Roger West (R-Peachtree) is burning a few bridges on his way out of the General Assembly — and he may take the railroad tracks with him, too.
West placed a rider section near the end of the House of Representatives budget bill to have the rail line from Andrews to Murphy ripped up and disposed of permanently. Mayors Bill Hughes, of Murphy, and Nancy Curtis, of Andrews, have been working hard to find state or federal funding to restore those railroads to their former glory, but West’s plan would end any chance of that.
“I had heard this might happen, but I thought it was just hearsay,” Hughes said. “It seems like it would cost more to take it up then you would get back. It’s been there 100 years and hasn’t hurt anybody. I am disappointed that we could lose this potential for future development. It will be regretted.”
Neither Hughes nor Curtis were consulted by West, whose final term in the legislature ends Dec. 1.
“I deeply regret West’s actions. I don’t know what his motivation might have been for this, but I do know that a transportation system will be destroyed that could have influenced industrial development and tourism in Cherokee County,” Hughes said.
Curtis called the move a “surreal surprise.”
“I don’t like surprises like that,” she said. “I feel like it was done behind our backs and that a lot of people would have felt cheated and betrayed if this was passed without their knowledge.”
West said Tuesday his intention was to give the N.C. Department of Transportation the right to sell that land