Lawmaker Wants State Railroad To Put Brakes On Rent Requests

A state lawmaker has asked the North Carolina Railroad Company to stop asking business owners to pay rent.

Cabarrus County Representative Jeff Barnhart says officials need to clarify who controls the land along the 317-mile line. The Republican says he has the support of the House speaker's office to form a study commission to prepare for next year's session.

The state-owned railroad says there are hundreds of small businesses operating on land it owns and within a 200-foot right of way. Officials have asked some owners to pay rent and fees for administrative and safety reasons.

Railroad officials have said the line has 233 lease agreements and that they have sent letters to another 120 businesses they recently identified.