Dozens of shipper groups and transportation companies laid out their positions with the Surface Transportation Board in advance of a June 22 hearing on whether rail regulatory reform is needed.
A wide range of opinions were expressed on the hearing the STB said would "explore the current state of competition in the rail industry and possible policy alternatives to facilitate more competition, where appropriate."
Broad-based groups that include shippers of bulk commodities and domestic manufacturers seem more interested in regulatory reform, while companies or organizations primarily concerned with the intermodal movement of containers caution the STB against moves that might reduce investment in rail infrastructure.
"While the board's approval of several major railroad mergers have brought incredible prosperity to the industry, the promise of vigorous competition among the remaining rail carriers has not been realized to the detriment of rail customers and the U.S. economy," said the National Industrial Transportation League. "Circumstances justify the board changing its existing policies to create a more level playing field by providing rail customers greater access to competitive rail service."
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