SMA cheers as Senate committee OKs transport bill

Dec 18, 2009 | 10:06 AM | Scott Robertson

The Senate Commerce Committee has unanimously approved the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act, a move hailed by rail shippers—including many involved in steel—as a milestone that would help eliminate anti-competitive practices among railroads.

The committee, in a bipartisan unanimous voice vote, ordered S. 2889 reported to the full Senate in sessions late on Dec. 17.

The move was welcomed by the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA), Washington, which has advocated increased spending on transportation infrastructure and the elimination of non-competitive activities for a number of years.

Adam Parr, manager of public policy and publications for SMA, said an unprecedented series of mergers and acquisitions in the railroad industry have left rail shippers, including steel companies, captive to a single Class 1 carrier. A recent study commissioned by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) indicates that 44 percent of rail traffic by tonnage is captive to one rail line, he said.....

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