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Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation

8/18/2008



Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Regional state government group opposes 're-regulation' bills


U.S. railroads and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) have another ally in their battle against "re-regulation" legislation: the Eastern Regional Conference of the Council of State Governments.

The conference's executive committee recently passed a resolution stating that two proposed bills — which aim to eliminate railroads' antitrust exemptions — could "significantly reduce income and, in turn, reduce [railroads'] ability to raise capital needed for future infrastructure expansion," according to an AAR press release. Congress is considering the Railroad Antitrust Enforcement Act (H.R. 1650 /S. 772) and Railroad Competition and Service Improvement Act (H.R. 2125/S. 953).

The northeastern United States needs significant railroad corridor development through public/private partnerships to accommodate freight and transit demands, reduce highway congestion, improve air quality and provide intermodal links to international trade, council committee members said. So, they're urging Congress to "reject efforts to alter the current regulatory system, which would discourage investment in rail infrastructure," and instead consider legislative initiatives, such as an investment tax credit program.

"The council understands the importance of expanding freight-rail capacity and gaining the public benefits that would bring," said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger. "They also understand that re-regulation would dry up the very capital needed for that expansion, putting more burden on already-congested highways and forcing taxpayers to pay out even more money for highway expansion."


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