New poll reveals majority of voters, worried about inflation, support efforts to increase competition across U.S. economy, including transportation sector

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WASHINGTON, DC, November 17, 2021 — Amid concerns about rising prices and inflation, most voters agree that promoting competition is important to a strong economy, and an overwhelming bipartisan majority of registered voters (75%) believe President Biden’s recent executive order is important to address high transportation costs for American producers. Those are among the findings of a recent nationwide poll of registered voters, released today and conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the Rail Customer Coalition (RCC).

The president’s executive order has been applauded by farmers, manufacturers, energy producers, and others for calling attention to the dramatic concentration of market power in the railroad industry and its negative impact on the cost and quality of freight rail service.

The poll findings show strong support for revisiting policies that address anti-competitive and monopolistic practices as the Surface Transportation Board (STB) looks to move forward on policy reforms, including a new arbitration process for rate cases and greater access to competitive service options through reciprocal switching

Key survey findings include:

  • A strong bipartisan majority (75%) of voters agree that President Biden’s executive order is important to address high transportation costs for American producers.
    • Democrats: 80%, Republicans: 72%, Independents: 71%
  • Nearly half of American voters believe the federal government is not doing enough to combat monopolies and anti-competitive behavior in the U.S. economy
    • Too little: 48%, Don’t Know/No Opinion: 21%, Right Amount: 23%, Too Much: 9%
  • More than two-thirds of voters (68%) said the executive order is important to address the lack of competitive transportation options for American producers.
    • Democrats: 77%, Republicans: 62%, Independents: 61%
  • By more than a 2-to-1 margin, respondents said they support the overall goals of the president’s executive order
    • Support: 56%, Oppose: 25%, Don’t Know/No Opinion: 19%
  • The vast majority of Americans, including more than 80% of both Democrats and Republicans, agree that federal laws protecting consumers and businesses from anti-competitive and monopolistic practices should be reviewed within 10 years of their enactment.
    • Democrats: 83%, Republicans: 81%, Independents: 76%

“In addition to being a popular idea with Americans across the political spectrum, promoting competition is the cornerstone of a dynamic economy,” said Chris Jahn, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council. “As our nation’s transportation challenges grow and concerns about rising costs mount, competition can help by driving innovation and efficiencies within the freight rail industry.”

“The current supply chain issues have highlighted the importance of a reliable and efficient transportation system,” said Chet Thompson, President and CEO of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers. “With so many of the products we depend on every day reliant on rail, we need a competitive rail sector. More competition fosters innovation, builds resilience, and improves service, which can result in savings for all of us—from the companies using rail to ship their goods to the consumers who ultimately purchase those goods and bring them into their homes.”

“These poll findings confirm that Americans highly value competition as a key pillar of a strong economy. U.S. agriculture contributes significantly to the U.S. economy in part due to our world-class transportation infrastructure, but the lack of effective rail competition damages the market by adding transportation costs that negatively impact consumers and agricultural producers,” said Mike Seyfert, President and CEO of the National Grain and Feed Association.

See the full survey results here.


Rail Customer Coalition 

The Rail Customer Coalition (RCC) is a large collection of trade associations representing a broad cross section of manufacturing, agricultural, and energy industries that depend on the railroads to deliver reliable and affordable service in order to remain competitive in a global market. Their members are essential to a healthy U.S. economy, with operations and employees throughout the country – collectively they provide more than 7 million jobs and produce more than $4.8 trillion in economic output.

RCC members are major transportation stakeholders and the largest users of freight rail. They account for more than half of the total volume of cargo shipped by rail and generate more than three-quarters of the revenues collected by the railroads.