The Need for Balanced Railroad Regulation

Recognizing the tremendous harm that excessive railroad regulation was inflicting on the economy, Congress passed the Staggers Rail Act of 1980. Since then, America’s railroads have been able to plow back more than $660 billion (of their own funds, not taxpayer funds) into their networks, in the process vastly improving rail safety and reliability. Rail spending in recent years has been higher than ever before. Returning to an era of excessive regulation would be a colossal mistake. It would prevent America’s railroads from making the massive investments a best-in-the-world freight rail system requires. Policymakers should be taking actions that enhance, rather than impair, railroads’ ability and willingness to make those investments.

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