Frank N. Wilner, Contributing Editor

Frank N. Wilner, Contributing Editor

Frank N. Wilner is author of six books, including, Amtrak: Past, Present, Future; Understanding the Railway Labor Act; and, Railroad Mergers: History, Analysis, Insight. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics and labor relations from Virginia Tech. He has been assistant vice president, policy, for the Association of American Railroads; a White House appointed chief of staff at the Surface Transportation Board; and director of public relations for the United Transportation Union. He is a past president of the Association of Transportation Law Professionals. Wilner drafted the railroad section of the Heritage Foundation’s Mandate for Change (Volumes I and II), which were policy blueprints for the two Reagan Administrations; and was a guest columnist for the Cato Institute’s Regulation magazine.

Friday, 22 April 2016 06:56

A new regulatory rat hole worth watching

News item: Executive Order No. 13725, issued April 15 by President Obama, and published in the April 20 Federal Register, mandates that Executive Branch federal agencies take specific actions to promote competition.

Thursday, 14 April 2016 11:49

Makeover crucial for dereg defense

For those sheltering railroads against assaults on regulatory freedoms, the 1980 Staggers Rail Act (Staggers) is considered sacrosanct.

Wednesday, 02 March 2016 20:16

CP+NS and the Humpty Dumpty effect

The chasing by suitor Canadian Pacific of grand dame Norfolk Southern has reintroduced to the railroad chattering classes the nebulous term “public interest,” used often and broadly when mergers and other railroad maneuvers requiring regulatory approval are afoot.

Monday, 22 February 2016 13:26

Is Robert Serlin Amtrak’s Merlin?

Boston to Washington, D.C. It’s a megalopolis of technology innovators, prestigious universities, corporate headquarters, a global financial hub, a score of professional sports teams, tourist attractions, Congress and a maze of executive branch and independent regulatory agencies—a region of 56 million whose productivity and quality of life depend significantly on efficient intercity transportation.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 06:28

Holy Christie: Tunnels, gridlock; now NJT

Former late-night talk show host David Letterman often said, “I wouldn’t give those troubles to a monkey on a rock.” Tag, you’re it, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Friday, 12 February 2016 12:25

The year ahead in Washington

Washington is a rat hole worth watching because, as the politically savvy know, lawmakers and regulators can inflict unexpected, unprovoked and unjustified wounds.

News item: Canadian Pacific (CP) is pursuing a hostile takeover of Norfolk Southern (NS). CP is asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate whether NS and other U.S.-based major railroads—some of which oppose the takeover—are unlawfully conspiring for “the primary purpose of restraining trade.” CP says “fear of competition does not justify the collective action of competitors.” Yet the Supreme Court long ago ruled that “joint efforts to influence public officials, such as railroad regulators, do not violate the antitrust laws even though intended to eliminate competition.”

Wednesday, 06 January 2016 00:19

Show us the letters, STB

On January 5, 2016, Reuters published a story containing excerpts of letters reportedly sent to the Surface Transportation Board by industry groups representing several major Norfolk Southern freight customers. The letters ask the STB to reject a merger of Canadian Pacific and NS, should a merger application be filed. We contacted the STB for copies of those letters and came up empty.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015 20:02

Centrist approach may quiet STB debate

The critical takeaway from enactment in December of the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act, S.808, is that, absent headline-capturing abuse of captive shippers by railroads, it is unlikely Congress will refocus anytime soon on diluting railroad market power.

Monday, 30 November 2015 02:17

CP-NS: Voting trust and other conundrums

Levitation takes two forms among railroads—magnetic levitation relating to futuristic high-speed passenger transport, and stock levitation associated with bidding wars for asset control.

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