RELEASE: The Consumer Case for Reimagining and Innovating Railroad Policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 9, 2023

The Consumer Case for Reimagining and Innovating Railroad Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the global consumer advocacy group Consumer Choice Center launched a policy primer on how best to reimagine and innovate public policy for freight rail in the United States.

The primer includes several key policy suggestions for legislators to help improve rail policy so that consumers can depend on affordable transportation for products they enjoy:

  • Oppose the Reliable Rail Service Act (S2071)
  • Congress should limit the common carrier obligation or eliminate it all together
  • Congress should amend the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act to ensure the agency acts as a remedial agency and does not create its own policy

Yaël Ossowski, deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center, explains:

“As we’ve seen with US tech companies and the Federal Trade Commission or Internet service providers and the Federal Communications Commission, our federal regulatory agencies are taking a much more active role in enforcing various policy desires – in a way that is proving detrimental to consumers.

“The same is happening in the area of freight rail policy, where the Surface Transportation Board is abusing its authority by unjustly expanding its enforcement of common carrier obligations in a way that ends up raising prices for transportation of goods that consumers rely on,” said Ossowski.

“Decades after piecemeal freight rail reform, the STB has been wielding much more control over the economic decisions of rail carriers and their customers, using jawboning, rhetorical threats, and exploratory rule-making to make their presence known.

“This threatens both innovation and innovation in rail transportation, which remains a key “middle mover” of goods that end up on our doorsteps and in our businesses.

“We propose a series of smart policy reforms to reimagine rail policy, highlighting the need for entrepreneurship and investment to lead us to better solutions, not top-down policy that is leading to higher transportation costs that end up reflecting in the goods we buy.

“These reforms aim to increase competition, generate investment, and ensure that lower costs can be passed down to consumers who rely on rail transportation for their products we use in our homes and businesses,” concluded Ossowski.



Yaël Ossowski, Deputy Director


The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva, Lima, Brasilia, and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

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