WHAT DO WE NEED?
Freight rail is a vital link that connects thousands of U.S. manufacturers, farmers, and energy producers with consumers. Unfortunately, freight railroads are failing to deliver reliable service and competitive rail rates to many shippers. It is time for policymakers to address this growing problem by enacting meaningful reforms that will promote a more affordable and more dependable freight rail system while strengthening the economy.
WHY FREIGHT RAIL REFORM?
Freight Rail: A Formula for a Strong U.S. Economy
Federal policies have not kept pace with massive changes in the railroad industry. Consequently, freight rail rates are soaring and service is declining, all of which is harming the U.S. economy.
HOW TO REFORM FREIGHT RAIL?
Increase Competitive Options
Adopt long-overdue policies that will promote greater access to competitive rail service wherever possible.
Reform Outdated Policies
Modernize the Surface Transportation Board to create an efficient and equitable process for resolving freight rail issues.
Foster a Strong Rail Network
Allow market forces and sensible federal policies to ensure everyone benefits from a healthy, affordable, and dependable freight rail system.
STB Reform: Providing a Much Needed Dose of Reality
There is near universal agreement that the agency charged with resolving freight rail issues is stymied by its own outdated and overly-burdensome rules. The Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) Acting Chairman, [...]
“We appreciate STB’s support of the revised reciprocal switching regulations proposed by the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL). Our member companies across a host of industries need this type of competitive, market-based rail transportation alternative. NITL is grateful that the Board is providing a forum for stakeholder comment, and we look forward to responding on behalf of our members following further review and analysis of the STB’s decision.”
“We welcome STB’s decision to move forward on competitive switching, which will help put the marketplace back in the driver’s seat and improve the flow of goods throughout our economy. Easing regulatory barriers to competitive switching will help reduce the need for government intervention and foster a healthy and efficient freight rail system. We look forward to working with the Board to ensure that its final rule will provide our industry, and other major freight rail customers, with better access to competitive and reliable service.”
“The Freight Rail Customer Alliance (FRCA) is pleased that the Surface Transportation Board has issued its Decision on a request to adopt revised competitive switching rules – a pending matter before the Board since 2011. The alliance has long supported efforts at the STB to increase competition in the railroad industry and spread its benefits more widely, especially for rail-dependent captive shippers. Competitive switching is one avenue to help achieve this. FRCA views this NPRM as an important step, and will be reviewing the proposal in the coming weeks.”
“Transportation of goods to market in a cost-effective manner is critical to our nation’s family farmers and ranchers. The Surface Transportation Board’s recently proposed rule on competitive switching is an important step in fostering fair and competitive shipping costs for the agricultural sector. NFU appreciates this action and looks forward to continued engagement with STB for the benefit of our nation’s producers.”
“Any effort that seeks to increase competition in the rail industry would decrease costs for the chemical industry while providing better options to ship and receive product. NACD is pleased STB is moving forward with this long awaited proposed rulemaking, and we welcome this advancement in light of exorbitant rail costs due to the lack of competition in the rail industry.”
“Steel shippers rely upon efficient, competitive rail service. As such, the SMA views expanded access to competitive switching as a useful method to maximize efficiency within the existing rail network.”
“The timely transportation of fertilizer is of critical importance to the fertilizer industry and its farmer customers. We are very pleased that STB has moved forward with this important proposal and look forward to reviewing the details and providing comments on the matter.”
“We appreciate the STB’s efforts to try to foster competition in the freight railroad industry. ARA believes this is a step in the right direction that will hopefully lead to more efficient and dependable rail service. Access to rail transportation through cost-effective switching between carriers is of critical importance to the agricultural industry, which is a seasonal business with retail- distribution facilities located in more rural areas.”
“We’re pleased to see the STB move forward with this proposal. Nearly 70 percent of all ethanol is shipped by rail, so improving access to competitive rail service is essential for our members to get low-cost, renewable fuels to consumers at the pump.””
THE RAIL CUSTOMER COALITION
The coalition is a large collection of trade associations representing a broad cross section of manufacturing, agricultural, and energy industries with operations and employees throughout the United States, including: