House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Rails to Congress, STB: “If in doubt, don’t”

Successful baseball pitchers learn to throw first-pitch strikes and stay aggressive in the strike zone when their team is in the lead. Life imitates baseball, meaning railroad spokespersons will serve their industry well over the next 10 weeks if they similarly perform—first before a congressional subcommittee examining 35 years of partial economic deregulation under the Staggers Rail Act, and then the Surface Transportation Board (STB) as it considers shipper entreaties that the railroads’ improved financial condition warrants tightening of the strike zone.

Second attempt at PRRIA launched

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has introduced H.R. 749, the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (PRRIA). The bill, identical to legislation introduced in 2014 by T&I, is described as “bipartisan legislation that improves the infrastructure, reduces costs, creates greater accountability and transparency, leverages private sector resources, and accelerates project delivery for Amtrak and the nation’s passenger rail transportation system.”

House T&I to STB: Look before you leap

On March 25-26, 2014, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) will hold a public hearing on a petition by the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) to modify STB’s standards for mandatory competitive switching. The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has sent a bipartisan letter to STB Chairman Dan Elliot and Vice Chairman Ann Begeman indirectly urging them to consider the consequences for railroads should the Board accept NITL’s proposal, and strongly voicing the Committee’s intent to oppose such a policy change.