Railroad Regulation: Changes in Freight Railroad Rates from 1997 through 2000

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 and the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 gave freight railroads increased freedom to price their services according to market conditions. A number of shippers are concerned that freight railroads have used these pricing freedoms to unreasonably exercise their market power in setting rates for shippers with fewer alternatives to rail transportation. This report updates the rate information in GAO's 1999 report (RCED-99-93) using selected commodities and with effective competitive transportation alternatives. From 1997 through 2000, rail rates ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. June 7, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 and the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 gave freight railroads increased freedom to price their services according to market conditions. A number of shippers are concerned that freight railroads have used these pricing freedoms to unreasonably exercise their market power in setting rates for shippers with fewer alternatives to rail transportation. This report updates the rate information in GAO's 1999 report (RCED-99-93) using selected commodities and with effective competitive transportation alternatives. From 1997 through 2000, rail rates generally decreased, both nationwide and for many of the specific commodities and markets that GAO examined. However, rail rates for some commodities and distance categories--such as wheat moving long distances and coal moving short distances--have stayed about the same or increased. In other instances, such as wheat moving medium distances, rail rates stayed about the same or decreased. Overall, the proportion of rail shipments above the Surface Transportation Board's statutory jurisdictional threshold for considering rate relief actions--where railroad revenues for the shipment exceed 180 percent of variable costs--stayed relatively constant at 30 percent from 1997 through 2000. However, the proportion of shipments for which revenues exceeded variable costs by 180 percent varied, depending on commodity and markets."

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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 7, 2002

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Railroad Regulation: Changes in Freight Railroad Rates from 1997 through 2000, report, June 7, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295134/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.