Freight Railroads: Preliminary Observations on Rates, Competition, and Capacity Issues

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Staggers Rail Act of 1980 largely deregulated the freight railroad industry, giving the railroads freedom to price their services according to market conditions and encouraging greater reliance on competition to set rates. The act recognized the need for railroads to use demand-based differential pricing in the deregulated environment and to recover costs by setting higher rates for shippers with fewer transportation alternatives. The act also recognized that some shippers might not have access to competitive alternatives and might be subject to unreasonably high rates. It established a ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. June 21, 2006.

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Description

Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Staggers Rail Act of 1980 largely deregulated the freight railroad industry, giving the railroads freedom to price their services according to market conditions and encouraging greater reliance on competition to set rates. The act recognized the need for railroads to use demand-based differential pricing in the deregulated environment and to recover costs by setting higher rates for shippers with fewer transportation alternatives. The act also recognized that some shippers might not have access to competitive alternatives and might be subject to unreasonably high rates. It established a threshold for rate relief and granted the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Surface Transportation Board (STB) the authority to develop a rate relief process for those "captive" shippers. This testimony provides preliminary results on GAO's ongoing work and addresses (1) the changes that have occurred in the freight railroad industry since the enactment of the Staggers Rail Act, including changes in rail rates and competition in the industry, (2) the alternative approaches that have been proposed and could be considered to address remaining competition and captivity concerns, and (3) the projections for freight traffic demand over the next 15 to 25 years, the freight railroad industry's projected ability to meet that demand, and potential federal policy responses. To fulfill these objectives, GAO examined STB data, interviewed affected parties, and held an expert panel."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • June 21, 2006

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Freight Railroads: Preliminary Observations on Rates, Competition, and Capacity Issues, text, June 21, 2006; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc290923/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.