US rail antitrust bill has momentum - Total

27 September 2007 23:05  [Source: ICIS news]

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (ICIS news)--A bill that would restore some federal and state powers to regulate railroad mergers and rate-setting practices has the best chance to become law among all proposed railroad legislation, an official with a large freight customer said on Thursday.

Allen Cast, category manager for Class 1 railroads at Total, said that approval by the US Senate Judiciary Committee last week of bill S-772, also known as the Railroad Antitrust Enforcement Act of 2007, brought it one step closer to approval in a full Senate vote. Passage is sought this year by the US chemical industry.

Cast spoke at the LogiChem chemical logistics Transportation Management Summit.

The Act is sought after by the chemical sector as it would remove antitrust law exemptions that railroad operators have had since the rail industry was largely deregulated in the 1980s.

A coalition of chemical firms, electric utilities and others claim those exemptions have allowed railroads to have unfair pricing and unreliable rail service, according to the coalition.

Cast was more skeptical about the chance that proposed legislation would pass to make it easier for large rail customers to save time and money in challenging railroad rates.

By: Brian Ford
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