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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

AAR to STB: Halt proposed regs until Trump takes over

Ed Hamberger
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Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and Chief Executive Ed Hamberger this morning called on the the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) to halt all major rulemakings until President-elect Donald Trump can appoint a new slate of board members.

The outcome of the 2016 election changed the policy landscape in Washington, D.C., so the STB should suspend its "misguided quest to re-regulate freight rail," Hamberger said today in prepared remarks at Progressive Railroading's RailTrends 2016 conference in New York City.

"Now is not the time for midnight regulations, let alone the enactment of the unfounded proposals currently arising from the STB that will surely fail to meet the rigorous examination promised by future leaders," Hamberger said, according to a press release of his remarks.

He noted that a Trump administration has the opportunity to ensure that policies are "rooted in data and recognize the market realities of today, not the past."

Hamberger also stressed that all government agencies — including the Federal Railroad Administration — should strive for transparent, empirically driven rules that consider the cumulative effects of regulation.

"The current economic regulatory structure enables freight railroads to earn the revenues necessary to invest so we can deliver the rail service our customers expect and deserve," he said. "Baseless proposals to re-regulate commodities exempt from strict oversight for more than 30 years, or mandates for privately owned companies to use their private infrastructure and equipment for the benefit of competitors are indeed drastic shifts in economic regulation and have no business advancing without a full complement of board members."

Hamberger spoke on a RailTrends panel discussing a topic titled "State of the Industry: Challenges and Opportunities Ahead."

Other panelists slated to speak were Michael Bourque, president and CEO of the Railway Association of Canada; Chuck Baker, president of the National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association; Linda Bauer Darr, president of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association; Joni Casey, president and CEO of the Intermodal Association of North America; and Tom Simpson, president of the Railway Supply Institute.

STB Chairman Daniel Elliott III is scheduled to address the conference this afternoon.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/17/2016