Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger made the following statements today in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by the Surface Transportation Board (STB).
"The freight rail industry acknowledges the complexities the STB had to take into consideration in arriving at this proposed rule, but, at the end of the day, the Board should have dismissed the petition without further proceedings, as imposing new regulations like this are a step backward from the deregulatory path that has allowed railroads to make the capacity investments required to meet customer demand and further modernize a nationwide rail network that benefits shippers and consumers.
The freight rail industry's position remains unchanged: forced access is an ill-conceived approach that compromises the efficiency of the entire network by gumming up the system through added interchange movements, more time and increased operational complexity."
Hamberger added: "Forced access would be a step backwards for the supply chain in our country as railroads would ultimately require more resources to move the same amount of freight, which would impact operational efficiencies introduced under the Staggers Rail Act."
Hamberger noted existing STB regulations already protect rail shippers as railroads voluntarily switch traffic under the current system, and by law, if freight can get from its origin to final destination only if it is carried by two or more railroads, railroads must cooperate to move the shipments.