JACKSONVILLE, Fla., March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The chief executive of a leading transportation company in North America, CSX Corporation's Michael J. Ward, said that America's future competitiveness depends on balanced government fiscal and regulatory policies that minimize uncertainty for business.
Ward, who has led the company to increasingly higher levels of business performance through a wide range of economic conditions over the past eight years, provided several observations about public policy and the economy in his 2010 Annual Report letter to shareholders. These observations come just as Congress, numerous governors and state legislatures are increasingly focused on the role of government in helping the economic recovery.
As a company that is investing billions of dollars into the country's rail infrastructure and hiring thousands of people, CSX is highly focused on American competitiveness, including the implications of government policy decisions on its customers, its industry and ultimately all consumers, Ward said. Consistent with that focus, Ward offered four keys to American competitiveness as excerpted below.
"One of the keys to American competitiveness, we believe, is minimizing uncertainty for businesses.
"Changes in policies and regulations take years and even decades to work their way through complex supply chains. Ill-conceived policies and unfunded mandates can strain or even cripple the system.
"Over the past 30 years, Congress has wisely refrained from re-introducing substantial commercial regulations on the freight railroads. Today, average rail rates on an inflation-adjusted basis are less than half of what they were just after the railroads were partially deregulated in 1980. What's more, the railroads are handling higher volumes, investing dramatically more in their infrastructures, and achieving record high levels of safety and service.
"The nation has given the concept of partial deregulation time to work, and it is working well."
"Balanced policymaking is also fundamental to competitiveness.
"Regulatory policies that provide critical oversight where needed are good – but not if they extend beyond their usefulness and inhibit employers from investing, growing and creating new jobs.
"National fiscal policies should also be balanced, with an aggressive focus on debt reduction and a fair and equitable tax system that encourages businesses to invest, compete and grow.
"For the environment, effective policies will emphasize clean technology and renewable energy sources while making full use of America's vast resources, like coal, that keep energy affordable, promote energy independence and support jobs."
"When government policies emphasize certainty and balance, businesses are better able and far more likely to invest.
"CSX is highly committed to making critical investments in its part of the American transportation network, which serves about two- thirds of the nation's population. Our investments are essential to accommodating growth, creating jobs and stimulating economic activity.
"The U.S. Department of Transportation recently estimated that total freight movements will rise 61 percent between 2010 and 2040. The estimated hundreds of billions of dollars of freight rail investment required to help support this growth will come from the railroads themselves. They have already, in fact, invested nearly $500 billion since 1980.
"But investing in freight railroads alone cannot alleviate America's transportation infrastructure challenges. Clogged ports and crowded highways, for example, act as a drag on U.S. economic competitiveness. As a nation, we must continue planning and investing in a transportation system that keeps America moving forward.
"We are pleased that the federal government, state governments and the private sector are working together to create infrastructure improvements that yield environmental and economic benefits for communities. CSX is at the leading edge of a number of such projects."
"As a company that is hiring thousands of new employees every year, we believe that education is foundational to everything we seek to achieve as a nation.
"At CSX, qualified and motivated high school and college graduates have the opportunity to earn highly competitive pay and benefits, and excellent pensions in both union and management positions.
"We consider their education and training to be a three-way partnership, with schools promoting the technical, creative and critical thinking skills, CSX providing extensive railroad-specific training with an overriding emphasis on employee and public safety, and the employees dedicating themselves to excellence in their own academic and career development.
"That's the way the system should work. It isn't a problem for government alone to fix. It's an opportunity for all American institutions and citizens to embrace together."
Full text of the CSX 2010 Annual Report, including Ward's letter to shareholders, can be found at http://investors.csx.com.
CSX Corporation, based in Jacksonville, Fla., is one of the nation's leading transportation companies, providing rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services. The company's transportation network spans approximately 21,000 miles, with service to 23 eastern states and the District of Columbia, and connects to more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com.
Michael Ward is a 33 year veteran of the company and has served as its chairman, president and chief executive officer since January 2003. Mr. Ward's career with the company has included key executive positions in nearly all aspects of the company's business, including sales and marketing, operations and finance.
The foregoing statements may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. They speak only as of the date they are made, and the company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement. If the company does update any forward-looking statement, no inference should be drawn that the company will make additional updates with respect to that statement or any other forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, and actual performance or results could differ materially from that anticipated by them. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by any forward-looking statements include, among others: (i) the company's success in implementing its financial and operational initiatives; (ii) changes in domestic or international economic or business conditions, including those affecting the freight transportation industry (such as the impact of industry competition, conditions, performance and consolidation); (iii) legislative or regulatory changes; (iv) the inherent business risks associated with safety and security; (v) the outcome of claims and litigation involving or affecting the company; (vi) natural events such as severe weather conditions or pandemic health crises; and (vii) the inherent uncertainty associated with projecting full year 2010 economic and business conditions at an early point in the year and in the economic recovery. Other important assumptions and factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are specified in the company's SEC reports, accessible on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov and the company's website at www.csx.com.
SOURCE CSX Corporation