MADISON, Wis., March 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A coalition of
Wisconsin freight rail customers is rallying behind bipartisan legislation
introduced by Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) that would level the playing field
by subjecting railroads to the same rules of competition as other
industries and the customers they serve. Today, Senators Russ Feingold
(D-Wis.), Norm Coleman (R- Minn.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Jay Rockefeller
(D-W.Va.) joined Kohl in introducing the Railroad Antitrust Enforcement Act
of 2007, legislation to repeal antitrust exemptions currently held by the
"Our nation's rail policy needs to be fixed; it is not meeting the
economic needs of our state or our country," said Mike Turner, executive
director of WI Crop Production Association and member of Badger-CURE. "We
commend Senators Kohl and Feingold for recognizing the severity of
Wisconsin's freight rail problems and taking congressional action to solve
The coalition argues that the antitrust exemptions run counter to
Congress' goals when it reformed the railroads in 1980. Competition was
supposed to guide federal rail policy.
Since 1980, a new railroad monopoly has emerged; today four major
railroads move 90 percent of our nation's freight, with two operating in
the West and two in the East. In fact, an October 2006 report by the U.S.
Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that there is " ... a
reasonable possibility that shippers in selected markets may be paying
excessive rates related to a lack of competition."
"The GAO report is validated by our experience," said David Jenkins,
manager with the WI Electric Cooperative Association. "The concentrated
ownership of key parts of our nation's rail routes has led to soaring rates
and unreliable service by the railroads."
In a letter thanking Senator Kohl for his effort, the coalition noted
impacts of poor rail service in Wisconsin identified during hearings held
by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) and the Department of
Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The PSC reported a $75 million
increase in electric rates due to disruptions in rail coal deliveries to
The Badger-CURE coalition is comprised of 45 Wisconsin businesses and
organizations representing key state industries such as manufacturing,
agriculture and electric utilities that rely on rail to ship or receive
commodities, as well as energy customers groups and union utility workers.
For more information visit http://www.railcure.org.
CONTACT: John Sumi of CURE, +1-608-286-0784