Forty years ago today (Oct. 14, 1980), President Jimmy Carter signed the Staggers Rail Act into law. The landmark legislation partially deregulated the U.S. rail industry, and created “today’s nimble, resilient rail network … built upon a rock-solid foundation,” noted Association of American Railroads President and CEO Ian Jefferies. It enabled railroads to enter into contracts with shippers and set rates without Interstate Commerce Commission approval.
Staggers Rail Act
Periodically, pundits who are not active participants in Surface Transportation Board (STB) proceedings offer for publication in a variety of newspapers—presumably aimed at members of Congress and other public policy opinion leaders—guest opinion columns containing warnings of dire results should railroads be “re-regulated.”
Have others noticed that aside from those few souls conscripted to promote the interests of railroads on Capitol Hill, the term “Staggers Rail Act” has lost its intended meaning?