Rail Decline May Turn Into National Security Issue

The service deterioration on the nation’s Class 1 railroads is approaching the point of becoming a national security issue, shippers informed the Surface Transportation Board (STB) at hearings held April 26-27, where they described how it already has added to the supply chain crisis, inflation and damaged the nation’s ability to recover economically from COVID-19. In March, rail shippers also presented similar information at an STB hearing on reciprocal switching, and now the crisis has even seized the attention of the highest levels of the federal government. On April 26 White House press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned the STB hearing at her daily press briefing and on that day Pete Buttigieg became the first secretary of transportation to testify in person before the STB.

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