Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Thursday, April 28, 2005

CRAIG COSPONSORS RAIL COMPETITION BILL

Legislation will help farmers, businesses using rail shipping

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho Senator Larry Craig joined several colleagues today in the U.S. Senate, including Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, in introducing the Railroad Competition Act of 2005. The legislation aims to foster rail competition in areas of the country where it is inadequate, by clarifying national rail policy and streamlining the process to resolve rate and service disputes.

“In Idaho, we have a good number of industries, including farmers and small business owners who rely on the railroads to get their products to market,” Craig said. “However, there are parts of the country that are served by only one or two rail carriers, and the lack of competition ends up hurting customers, who must often pass those high shipping costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices at the market. This bill seeks to return the power to the customers and bring capitalism back into many regions where rail shipping has strayed into monopoly.”

The legislation ensures that rail customers will receive rate quotes for movements between various points on a railroad’s system; frees regional and short line railroads to provide access to additional major systems; provides captive rail customers who cannot afford to participate in expensive rate challenge proceedings access to arbitration; and directs the Surface Transportation Board to adopt a more realistic and workable rate reasonableness standard.

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