An association of railroad companies detailed why it hopes to convince the next possible president that over-regulated railways are dangerous.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her Republican rival Donald Trump have very different ideas on the economy and how it should be regulated. The Association of American Railroads is urging the candidates to limit freight railway regulations.
“Both campaigns talk a lot about infrastructure, and we welcome that discussion,” a spokesperson for AAR told InsideSources. “But we want the campaigns to know the power and value of America’s privately owned and maintained freight railroads and our role in the larger infrastructure discussion.”
The industry hopes to influence the two candidates on a number of major railway issues. AAR notes the main focus is taxes, regulations and infrastructure investments. He adds decreased regulations in the 1980s helped the freight railroad industry grow, plus all those other industries that rely on it.
“In a lot of ways, freight rail is one of America’s greatest deregulation stories, an embodiment of how a business and infrastructure system can thrive when given leeway to do so and through steady, massive investments,” said AAR. “We are doing all we can to ensure Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump know this.”
AAR adds that it issued a letter to both major candidates detailing why rail companies are important to the economy. Many other industries rely on the freight railways to transport raw materials and goods. Freight train networks transport over 54 million tons of goods worth nearly $48 billion each day.
“We have no way of knowing how either Ms. Clinton or Mr. Trump would approach freight railroads if elected President,” an AAR official explained. “But we do know that the powers of partial deregulation in 1980 have been a mainstay over multiple administrations and sessions of Congress.”
Nevertheless, railway companies still face a nearly endless stream of proposed regulations. The industry notes the proposed regulations could do immense harm if ever implemented. AAR hopes to convince both candidates to not allow railways to be flooded with the potential new regulations.
“The AAR is continually educating decision makers,” the group’s spokesperson went onto state. “We are doing what we can through communications channels and stakeholder education to make that clear.”
The Surface Transportation Board has proposed many of the pending railroad regulations. AAR expresses particular concern over a proposed rule that would require railroads to open their privately owned and maintained rail lines to competitors.
“If enacted, there would be situations where Railroad One would get access to Railroad Two’s customers and infrastructure,” explained an AAR official. “It both sets a dangerous precedent and could significantly damage a 140,000 mile rail network that undoubtedly services American commerce, and by extension, American consumers.”
Neither the Clinton nor Trump campaigns responded to requests for comment by InsideSources.