Rail Customers Hail Congressional Action to Fix America's Broken Rail System

Bipartisan Bill Would Make Railroads Play by the Same Rules as Other

American Industries

Mar 06, 2007, 00:00 ET from CURE

    WASHINGTON, March 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today a broad coalition
 working to establish an effective rail system for America heralded
 bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Norm
 Coleman (R-Minn.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Jay
 Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) that would level the playing field by subjecting
 railroads to the same rules of competition as other industries and the
 customers they serve. As introduced, the Railroad Antitrust Enforcement Act
 of 2007 would promote competition by eliminating the obsolete antitrust
 exemptions that are contributing to a growing rail crisis threatening
 America's economy.
     "Our nation's rail system is broken; it is not meeting the economic
 needs of our country," said Glenn English, former U.S. Congressman and
 chairman of CURE. "By providing customers with access to rail service
 options and a venue to challenge market power abuses, as this legislation
 does, we will be well on our way to establishing a healthy, competitive
 system for the future."
     The nation's antitrust laws are consumers' basic protection against
 monopoly abuses by providers of essential goods and services. Under the
 current system, the railroads have no incentive to provide reasonable rates
 or reliable service. Rail customers are forced to pass on the costs of
 these rail hikes and delivery delays to consumers or import foreign
 products, thereby gouging American businesses.
     Removing the railroads' anti-trust exemption has wide support.
 Responding to anti-competitive abuses in their states, eighteen state
 Attorneys General in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, the
 District of Columbia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi,
 Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South
 Dakota and Wisconsin, urged the Congress, in a letter to the House and
 Senate Judiciary Committees, "to remove the current railroad antitrust
 exemptions and subject the nation's major railroads to the basic law that
 ensures competition in our nation."
     Consumers United for Rail Equity (CURE) is a coalition of America's
 rail customers seeking changes in federal law to improve the reliability,
 effectiveness and affordability of the nation's rail system. The group
 represents public utilities; rural electric co-ops; investor-owned
 utilities; farmers; chemical, ethanol, agriculture, cement and other
 manufacturers; forest and paper companies; and all their customers. For
 more information visit http://www.railcure.org
     Contact: Kiernan Doherty, (202) 261-2887 or kiernan.doherty@mslpr.com