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A group of more than 50 business executives recently sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump's administration calling on it to work with them to appoint Surface Transportation Board (STB) members who are "committed to eliminating outdated rules and overly bureaucratic procedures that shield the rail industry from competition."In a letter addressed to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the executives identified themselves as leaders of some of the nation's largest customers of freight-rail service. Many of them are members of the Rail Customer Coalition, a collection of trade associations that represent the manufacturing, agricultural and energy industries, including the American Chemistry Council, Edison Electric Institute, Fertilizer Institute and International Warehouse Logistics Association."Over the past decade, obsolete regulatory protections and an overly burdensome STB process have allowed freight-rail rates to double — more than three times the rate of inflation — even though the volume of freight carried by the railroads has barely increased," the letter stated. "At the same time, rail service has not improved. Many shippers — from factories to farms — are captive to a single railroad, and the STB has been ineffective in addressing widespread complaints about unreasonable rates and poor service."In the letter, the executives ask the Trump administration to work with them to appoint a new chairman and new members for the STB who are committed to moving the board forward "instead of preserving the status quo."
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