Thursday, December 17, 2009

AAR statement on the Senate STB Reauthorization Bill

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The Association of American Railroads issued the following statement by AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger in response to the Senate Commerce Committee markup of the STB Reauthorization Bill:

"We appreciate the efforts of the Senate Commerce Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Rockefeller and Senator Hutchison and senior Committee members of both parties, to work with all freight stakeholders over the last several months in developing this legislation.

"This bill would be the most significant rewrite of the railroad industry's regulatory system in the last three decades. Under the bill, Class 1 railroads would be required to open their privately-owned and maintained rail networks and would face vastly expanded government involvement in railroad operations.  

"We continue to have concerns about certain provisions in the bill, particularly the nature and scope of the antitrust provision that may be added at a later date, and we will remain engaged with the Commerce Committee, Congress and the Administration to craft final legislation that ensures railroads can continue to make the investments that sustain a healthy national rail network."

Since the Staggers Act of 1980, freight railroads have invested more than $440 billion to revitalize the nation's rail infrastructure. Future rail growth will produce valuable public benefits including American jobs, clean air and energy conservation, reduced highway congestion and enhanced community livability.

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