Freight Rail & Economic Regulation
Freight Rail Policy Stance: Freight railroads support a continuation of existing balanced regulatory policies.
Why This Matters: The current regulatory framework protects rail customers against unreasonable railroad actions while allowing railroads to earn enough to make massive investments into their private 140,000-mile network. These investments ensure freight rail remains America’s critical connector.
America’s freight railroads demonstrate that market-based solutions can help build a successful industry that drives economic prosperity from coast-to-coast.
A broad and bipartisan coalition in Congress passed the Staggers Rail Act in 1980. The law, which partially deregulated the industry, initiated a rail renaissance. Freight railroads responded with one of the greatest economic turnarounds in modern history. That in turn has benefited thousands of American businesses and millions of consumers through low shipping rates and a stellar safety record.
Similar to the web of regulations that drove the industry to the brink of financial ruin in the 1970s, current proposals under review at the U.S. Surface Transportation Board would undermine the ability of freight railroads to invest in their network and ultimately disrupt service.