Mandating Reciprocal Switching Would Trample Property Rights and Raise Costs for Consumers

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The Surface Transportation Board will hold a hearing on March 15 and 16 to consider a proposal to mandate reciprocal switching for freight railroads. Currently, freight railroads offer access to their competitors voluntarily and fees are exchanged to compensate use of another company’s property.

The proposal before the Surface Transportation Board would, under certain conditions, impose reciprocal switching mandates on freight railroads, making them offer access to their private property at below market rates.

“Forcing mandated reciprocal switching on freight carriers would trample on railroads’ property rights, erode their competitive advantage over forms of freight transport, and impose higher costs on consumers when inflation is already soaring,” said CEI Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray. “The proposal would harm consumers and the Surface Transportation Board should withdraw it.”

CEI and 38 free market-oriented groups sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board in February 2022 outlining the problems with forcing mandated reciprocal switching on freight carriers.