Current Economic Regulatory Framework Works for Freight Rail Customers

Although most infrastructure and transportation advocates in Washington, D.C. build their cases on the need for public funding, privately owned freight railroads make the opposite plea: Do not let government regulators disturb the current economic regulatory framework and reduce the ability of freight railroads to invest in their private networks. Unfortunately, several proposals before the Surface Transportation Board (STB) would needlessly disrupt the unquestioned success of the partial economic deregulation of the railroad industry. If these proposals are adopted, policymakers risk a massive shift of freight from rail to truck that will only exacerbate public infrastructure funding needs. The plight of American freight rail—caused by overregulation decades ago—is well established. But so is the unquestioned success of the lifting of government shackles on the most important business decisions for the industry—namely routing and pricing. In the 1970s,…

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