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Preserving Reasonable Regulation

Reasonable and balanced regulation is crucial to ensuring freight railroads like Norfolk Southern continue meeting America’s transportation needs

During the 1970s, decades of over-regulation had rendered freight railroads to the brink of ruin. Thousands of miles of railroad track was owned by bankrupt railroads, and this resulted in a deterioration of rail tracks, equipment, and safety.

Recognizing the need for change, Congress passed the Staggers Rail Act of 1980. The Staggers Act created a balanced, common-sense regulatory system that gives railroads the opportunity to chart their own success. Reasonable and balanced regulation means lower prices and better service for Norfolk Southern rail customers and consumers, and allows railroads like Norfolk Southern to operate in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. The current regulatory structure has also created an environment where railroads reinvest hundreds of millions of dollars each year into the maintenance of the rail infrastructure. At Norfolk Southern, more than $2 billion is reinvested into the NS network annually, ensuring safe and reliable service to our customers for years to come.

Nevertheless, some shippers, interest groups, and members of Congress support legislative and regulatory changes to the system of balanced, common-sense regulation currently in place. Such ill-advised changes would force railroads to lower rates to certain favored shippers to below-market levels at the
expense of other shippers, rail employees, and the public at large. Billions of dollars in rail revenue could be lost each year, artificially cutting the rail earnings that provide the capital for railroads like Norfolk Southern to reinvest into privately-owned networks. These changes would also evolve into less new rail capacity and less reliable rail service.

Norfolk Southern and the freight rail industry supports the current framework of reasonable regulation in place, and recognize its importance to our customers, our employees, and the communities we serve. Changes to the currently regulatory framework would be detrimental to the freight rail industry.

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