Rail Antitrust Exemptions Being Scrutinized

AFBF is backing the elimination of freight rail exemptions.

Published on: Aug 18, 2008

A set of companion bills in the House and Senate, S. 772 and H.R. 1650, would eliminate antitrust exemptions for the freight rail industry. The American Farm Bureau Federation has written to members of Congress urging them to support these bills that would make obsolete antitrust exemptions that protect freight railroads from competition and therefore keep rail rates artificially and unfairly high.

"American agriculture depends on the railroad system, especially given the high costs of shipping commodities via truck. Like those in several other industries, agricultural producers are frequently captive rail customers and experience both unreliable service and exorbitantly high rates from the railroads," stressed AFBF President Bob Stallman in separate letters to House members and senators who have not already signed on as co-sponsors.

Removal of these exemptions would force railroads to compete for business and reduce rates to captive shippers. Stallman said it is important for Congress to pass this legislation before the adjourning for this fall's elections.

"Farmers all across America rely on reasonably priced rail service to deliver their crops to market," said Stallman. "Freight railroads must be opened to fair and open competition so that prices for shipping agriculture commodities via rail can be fair and reasonable."