The US needs reliable, competitively-priced rail service so chemical manufacturers, who ship more than 881 million tons of products, can continue to invest in our economy and create high-paying jobs across the nation.
Congress took an important step by passing legislation to help improve how the Surface Transportation Board (STB) operates, and now the STB is pursuing much-needed changes to adopt free market principles and do a better job of resolving long-standing freight rail problems that have been plaguing American manufacturers.
Massive consolidation within the rail industry has left just four railroads in control of 90 percent of the rail traffic in the US. Unfortunately, outdated government policies have failed to keep pace with these changes and have left many rail customers without access to competitive transportation options or an effective way to resolve problems with rates and service.
As a result, freight rail rates have doubled – more than three times the rate of inflation over the past decade — even though the volume of freight carried by the railroads has barely increased.
Groups representing farmers, steel producers, automobile manufacturers, chemical producers and energy producers across the US—the bulk of freight rail customers—have come together to form the Rail Customer Coalition in support of STB reform. This diverse coalition represents industries that provide 4.7 million jobs, contribute $2.4 trillion in economic output, and operate in nearly every US congressional district.
Congress must encourage the Board to keep moving forward on these common sense reforms that will get freight rail polices back on track and back to work for the entire US economy.
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