Freight railroads are an essential link in the nation’s supply chain, working around the clock, day-in and day-out to improve their service, safety and sustainability. Today, they employ a well-paid workforce and are actively recruiting and training new workers. They provide environmentally responsible transportation solutions and are developing and testing new technologies to usher in an even lower carbon future. And they invest billions of dollars to maintain and modernize their top-rated infrastructure.
While there is never a good time to implement ill-advised regulations on a transportation network critical to our economy, doing so when supply chains are already facing severe challenges would be especially unwise. There are many examples of federal regulators either implementing or considering rail regulations that would cause unintended consequences or harm the efficiency and quality of rail service.
Forced switching is one of the more problematic proposed regulations. Under this rule from the Surface Transportation Board, railroads could be forced to turn over traffic to competitors. This bad policy would slow rail operations and hurt shippers, consumers, the environment and the economy. Supply chain impacts must be top-of-mind, and Congress and the administration should proceed cautiously when considering new requirements or regulations on the industry.