Shippers, railroads oppose re-regulation: AAR

Shippers, railroads oppose re-regulation: AAR

A top U.S. railroad trade group executive told a House subcommittee that re-regulation would provide lower rates for shippers but at the expense of long-term damage to the industry.

While some shippers want government to tighten its control over pricing, "the rest of America's shippers understand and recognize how deregulation has improved service and lowered rates," Association of American Railroads President and Chief Executive Edward Hamberger testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Railroad Subcommittee Thursday.

"Almost 400 railroad customers have written since last fall to oppose re-regulation."

The AAR, rail officials and shippers oppose the Railroad Competition Act of 2003 (S919/HR 2924), which would "clarify" national rail policy under the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) Termination Act and require the Surface Transportation Board to "ensure effective competition" among railroads at origins and destinations; enforce reasonable rail rates "in the absence of effective competition," and maintain consistent and efficient rail service for shippers, including timely distribution of rail cars.

Hamberger said the "instant gratification" of lower rates forced by re-regulation would come with a long-term price that would hurt shareholders, customers, railroads, the entire transportation system, and the U.S. and global economies."