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Rail-industry association representatives say they're optimistic about federal transportation policy under President Donald Trump's administration, according to a report in the February issue of Progressive Railroading. In interviews last month, rail-industry advocates said that although details on Trump's transportation policies remain few and far between, they're encouraged by his promise to produce a pro-business regulatory environment as well as a massive — if not rail-specific — plan to beef up the nation's ailing transportation infrastructure. Both are concepts that the rail advocates say they can get behind.For example, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) is hopeful that Trump and the new Congress will rescind proposed rulemakings on "reciprocal" or "competitive switching," which the association believes would undermine the freight-rail industry if approved. The rulemakings were proposed by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) under the leadership of Chairman Daniel Elliott III, a Democrat appointed by President Barack Obama. Earlier this month, Trump tapped STB board member and Republican Ann Begeman to chair the board. AAR and other rail groups that view the proposed rules as "re-regulation" of the industry are hopeful that Trump's pro-business agenda will mean the end of the competitive switching proposal.On the regulatory reform front, the new administration appears to concur with the freight-rail industry's viewpoint. During his first week in office, Trump told chief executives gathered at the White House that his administration planned to cut regulations "massively."More examples of the rail industry's transportation policy expectations and hopes under the new administration and 115th Congress can be found in this month's cover story.
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