The railway regulatory environments in the U.S. and Canada will continue to be important subjects of debate this year. We expect Congress to remain interested in pursuing legislation to modify the system of economic regulation of the rail industry, and expect the release early in the year of the final report by the Rail Freight Service Review panel in Canada.
Commercial principles and a stable regulatory environment are key to an effective rail transportation marketplace throughout North America. Innovation can only thrive in an environment that allows railways to work creatively with their customers and to earn revenue sufficient to make the sizable investments necessary in networks and infrastructure.
Increased regulation would have the unintended consequences of increasing costs, stifling innovation and potentially discouraging investments. Deregulation of the rail industry -- in the U.S. in 1980 and in Canada in 1987 and 1996 -- was the turning point that allowed railways to embark on the path to increased viability.
The changes ushered in by regulatory reform helped to revive a once-struggling industry and enabled it to improve customer service and step up investments in networks while retaining regulatory protections for rail customers should they be necessary to address specific problems. That’s why CN is urging policymakers in both countries to stay the course in support of current regulatory structures that are anchored on commercial solutions and encourage innovation.
Railways are crucial to the prosperity of the U.S. and Canadian economies and their competitiveness in global markets. Those economies can’t afford the risk of unwarranted new rail regulation.