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Consumers United for Rail Equity (CURE) has changed its name to the Freight Rail Customer Alliance (FRCA) and adopted a new advocacy approach.CURE was founded in 1984 by associations representing coal-burning utilities to advocate for affordable and reliable freight-rail service via lobbying efforts at Congress and the former Interstate Commerce Commission."The new Freight Rail Customer Alliance is a diverse and broad Washington, D.C.-based alliance for freight-rail customers working together across industries to improve access to reliable rail service at competitive prices," said FRCA President David Sauer, Dakota Gasification Co.'s chief operating officer and senior vice president, in a press release.Ann Warner, managing partner of Ann Warner LLC, will serve as FRCA’s first executive director."FRCA will advocate for much-needed reforms and process improvements at the Surface Transportation Board and common-sense economic reforms that will result in competitive freight-rail service and fair prices," she said. "FRCA does not seek economic re-regulation of the railroads; rather it seeks service options and fair prices that are not held to anticompetitive rates or service practices."The alliance has begun reaching out to organizations representing various shipper sectors, such as alternative energy, chemicals, agriculture, steel, coal, forest products and auto manufacturing, said Warner."We will advocate for anyone dependent on freight rail who experiences a negative impact on rates or service due to a lack of competition," she said.CURE members late last year approved a restructuring plan to expand the organization by attracting freight-rail shippers from a host of industries and commodities. FRCA now plans to continue the campaign to obtain changes in federal law and policy that would help all rail shippers, alliance officials said.For example, FRCA supports removing the current freight-rail exemption from the nation’s antitrust laws. The Association of American Railroads opposes any efforts to change existing balanced regulatory policies that impact the rail industry.
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