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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

AAR writes Congress over STB concerns


The Association of American Railroads (AAR) yesterday wrote to leaders of the House and Senate transportation committees to express concerns over what the association says is "overreach" by the Surface Transportation Board (STB).

The letter covers the AAR's concerns over three primary issues: forced access, commodity re-regulation and rate caps. The letter is addressed to leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

In the letter, AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger writes that three STB proposals would expand the agency's regulatory reach despite "fierce competition" for freight transportation services.

"Any claim that competition for freight transportation has lessened as a result of consolidations in the rail industry is simply not true," writes Hamberger.

The letter goes on to raise concern over proposed rules that would allow the STB to enforce "competitive switching" rules and to re-regulate the pricing of certain commodities. In addition, the board is considering a "revenue adequacy" proposal that would impose government price controls through a rate cap, the letter states.

"These proposals indicate a reversal of the market-based approach established by Congress," writes Hamberger. "Today's uncertain environment is no time for the STB to depart from the path Congress has laid out."


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