Rail shippers face the potential for new regulations. One specifically, would require railroads to share their privately-owned infrastructure. One skeptic of this regulation is Steve Pociask, an economist with the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research, a nonprofit think tank that aims to examine how public policy impacts consumers. He co-authored an October 2021 report with Liam […]
History shows that ending onerous rail regulations was an indisputable success, proving that railroads could thrive, and deliver tens of billions of dollars of economic benefits to consumers. There is nothing about the current railroad industry challenges that conclusion. As the U.S. supply chain faces unprecedented challenges and consumers see marked price increases for the […]
Freight rail has been an unquestionable success of government deregulation. Since deregulation was passed over forty years ago, America’s rail freight industry has gone from the brink of collapse to one of the most efficient and productive. A recent report from the American Consumer Institute (ACI) has highlighted this fact, showing since the passage of the Staggers […]
While new powers in Washington may feel a reflexive need to regulate more – undoing parts of the Trump administration’s policies – rail regulation at the STB should not be part of this agenda. In fact, the past regulatory reforms noted here were all spearheaded as Democratic policies, and they worked. For these reasons, the […]
Undermining railroad investment is a dangerous risk that could eventually lead to underperformance by railroads, produce financial losses, and increase market shares for the trucking industry. As trucking increases, environmental concerns increase along with congestion and added pollution. Compared to trains, trucks create three times more pollution per ton. By one estimate, taxpayers will face […]
The Surface Transportation Board has recently proposed regulations that would control the prices and earning of railroad carriers. The regulations, however, are eerily similar to those previously repealed that devastated the rail industry nearly 50 years ago. The American Consumer Institute recently released a report on these newly proposed policies stating, in a nutshell, that the current proposed […]
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 […]
With the upcoming Surface Transportation Board hearings (on December 12th and 13th), ACI joined a coalition to call on Congress to resist attempts to increase rail regulations, which would only served to increase consumer prices and reduce industry investment. The coalition letter is available online.
The U.S. Senate seems poised to confirm three new members to the five-person Surface Transportation Board (STB), the agency responsible for regulating our nation’s railroads, including companies like CSX and Norfolk Southern in Pennsylvania. These nominations have been stalled for months, diminishing the STB’s ability to fulfill its mission to help ensure the free flow […]