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OpenMarket: Rail and Mass Transit

  • CEI Leads Coalition to Congress Urging Close Oversight over Possible New Railroad Price Controls

    December 5, 2019
    Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) led a group of scholars and advocates from 13 free market organizations urging Congress to exercise close oversight over potential new government price controls on America’s freight railroads. Specifically, we requested congressional railroad overseers to closely monitor an upcoming December 12 and 13 hearing at the Surface Transportation Board on revenue adequacy and the underlying proceedings before the Board.
  • Long Wait for Worker Freedom Finally Ends for Airline, Rail Employees

    July 26, 2019
    It is a banner day for employee choice. For the first time, airline and railroad workers have a direct path to remove an unwanted union.
  • Surface Transportation Board Delays Consideration of Regulatory Reform Petition

    July 11, 2019
    Yesterday, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) published a decision on a March 2019 rulemaking petition from the Association from American Railroads (AAR). The AAR petition called on the STB to require benefit-cost analysis for legislative rulemakings undertaken by this independent agency, similar to what federal departmental agencies must already do and some other independent agencies now require.
  • Federal Railroad Administration Withdraws Proposed 'Featherbedding' Train Crew Rule

    May 23, 2019
    Today, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released a draft notice indicating that it will be withdrawing a 2016 proposed rule that would have required trains to have at least two crewmembers onboard at all times during operation.
  • CEI Leads Coalition Urging Surface Transportation Board to Withdraw Proposed Switching Rule

    April 30, 2019
    Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) led a coalition of 20 other free market organizations urging the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to withdraw a harmful proposed rule. The STB has been the U.S. economic regulator of railroads for more than two decades since the infamous Interstate Commerce Commission was disbanded.
  • Department of Transportation Should Rescind Crew-Size 'Featherbedding' Proposal

    March 28, 2019
    Unions in the railroad industry have a long history of “featherbedding,” the pejorative term for the practice of creating pointless make-work jobs. Most infamous was the case of the firemen, important workers in the 19th and first half of the 20th century who shoveled coal into the boilers of steam locomotives. With the introduction of diesel locomotives in the 1930s, firemen became obsolete. But unions successfully kept the fireless firemen on trains.
  • California's Gov. Newsom Slams Brakes on California Bullet Train

    February 17, 2019
    California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) on February 12th unexpectedly slammed the brakes on the state’s high-speed rail project. The project “as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long” to build, Newsom explained during his first State of the State address.
  • Year in Review 2018: Transportation Policy

    December 21, 2018
    CEI had a busy year in the transportation policy trenches. We worked at the federal, state, and local levels on a variety of projects. Below are selected examples of the work we did this year to inject free-market ideas into the generally command-and-control world of transportation.
  • New Federal Railroad Administration Rule Can Help Reduce Passenger Train Costs

    November 21, 2018

    Today, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) published its long-awaited final rule to modernize passenger railcar crashworthiness standards. When it takes effect on January 22, 2019, the new rule will allow passenger rail agencies to adopt railcars designed with crash energy management (CEM) techniques.

    CEM refers to crumple zones designed to absorb the energy of a collision. Until now, U.S. passenger railcars were required to meet “buff strength” crashworthiness standards related to railcar integrity, engineer seat integrity, and anticlimbing mechanisms to prevent telescoping—the deadly phenomenon in which a railcar “climbs” into the railcar in front of it when a crash suddenly halts a train’s...

  • Dockless Bikes, E-Scooters, and Urban Transportation Policy Hypocrisy

    November 13, 2018
    In August 2017, I wrote about the municipal government cronyism and monopoly franchise agreements driving the controversy over unsubsidized dockless bikesharing companies. In the rapidly evolving world of privately financed urban micromobility, electric scooters have now joined dockless bikesharing at the center of the debate. Here, municipal cronyism also appears to have evolved from protecting subsidized monopoly providers into classic shakedown efforts.

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