As the Administration eyes increasing regulations on the rail industry, it is important for policymakers to understand that prices declined and investments increased in the aftermath of freight rail deregulation that occurred decades ago. With the benefits of regulatory reform in mind and given the significant number of goods that are moved on freight trains […]
Congressional members on the Transportation Committee have much work to do on their proposed infrastructure bill. One first step, across all political allegiances, should be to drop unnecessary regulatory provisions in the transportation legislation that would only serve to increase consumer prices by increasing the costs of transporting goods by rail. As the economy works […]
After a full year of lockdowns and social distancing, Americans are understandably eager to once again get back to work and travel this summer. With hopes that economic activity is set to roar back in the wake of the ongoing vaccination drive, last week the House sub-committee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials held a hearing on […]
The American Consumer Institute (ACI) president Steve Pociask today joined hundreds of other public policy experts in a letter to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Staggers Rail Act. The letter, addressed to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board and Congress states: “[The] Staggers Act established a visionary approach to regulation that sparked […]
This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Act, a law that ended the regulation of railroad prices. The Staggers Act demonstrated four decades ago that deregulation, when done correctly, can provide huge benefits to the nation and to consumers in particular. Specifically, price deregulation led to a 44% long term reduction in rail […]
This past week, Democratic representatives on the Hill unveiled the text of a colossal $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill. Dubbed the Moving Forward Act, the plan offers a mile-long shopping list for federal spending—from clean energy to the postal service. But the flurry of ambitious projects draws attention away from the fact that businesses, workers, and consumers across the […]
Experts can quibble about the pros and cons of such government largesse — after all, it is not the business community’s fault that the virus shuttered much of the U.S. and global economies. But what is not up for debate is that our nation will be forever altered. Many firms will not survive, and many […]
As grocery stores across the nation are experiencing shortages, having efficient transportation, like freight trains, to deliver grains, raw materials, chemicals that go into cleaning solutions, and other supplies is of utmost importance. Yet, the next stimulus plan, a proposed house infrastructure bill, could weaken the rail industry by mandating minimum crew sizes, regulating train […]
America’s railroads provide cost-effective freight transportation for consumers and thousands of jobs for workers—all while generating a fraction of the emissions of its competitors. These benefits are the product of deregulation in the 1980s that slashed inefficiency and brought the railroads back from the brink of collapse.
However, a new report highlights how these public benefits are once again coming under pressure from proposed onerous regulations. History shows that price setting and regulatory meddling will eventually extinguish the benefits that rail transportation affords.
For much of the 20th century, federal regulators tightly controlled the railroad industry, including rail investment and prices. By the 1970s, several major carriers were on the verge of bankruptcy, and lawmakers, facing the prospect of costly bailouts, acted boldly and repealed onerous regulations, allowing market forces to re-energize the industry. In the 40+ years […]