Rockefeller Statement on STB Announcement to Hold Public Hearing on Competitiveness in the Rail Industry

January 11, 2011

Chairman RockefellerWASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement today following the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) announcement to hold a public hearing on the state of competition in America’s railroad industry:

“I commend Chairman Elliott for taking this bold step and opening an inquiry into competition in the rail industry. A close look at how the Class I freight railroads do business is long overdue. While the railroads claim they are struggling to keep the lights on, the reality is that they are one of the most profitable industries in our economy. It’s time for Congress and the STB to have a serious discussion about how we are going to level the playing field for the American businesses that have been paying too much for too little. I will continue to fight, as I have for more than two decades, to make sure captive shippers have access to competitive prices so their businesses can grow and thrive.” 

This past year, the Commerce Committee continued its efforts to address shipper concerns about lack of competition in the rail industry. In September, a hearing was held to take a closer look at these concerns. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari and Chairman of the STB, Daniel Elliott testified. Additional information on the hearing can be found here. In conjunction with this hearing, Senator Rockefeller released a Committee report highlighting the soaring profits of the rail industry at the expense of their shipper customers. Additional information on the report can be found here.