AFPM members have invested billions of dollars to lease, own and maintain the tens of thousands of rail tank cars they rely on every day. In recent years, they have made considerable investments to upgrade their fleets to meet the newest and most robust federal standards.
Most regulatory efforts to date have focused on tank car specifications and the characteristics of materials transported. AFPM believes that any effort to improve rail safety must start by addressing the root cause of the accidents — derailments. Track integrity, human error and equipment defects are the primary root causes of train derailments, not the tank cars themselves.
Massive consolidation in the rail industry has decreased access to competitive freight rail service and railroads have used market dominance to implement requirements outside of the federal rulemaking process. This has led to higher prices, inconsistent service, deteriorating rail networks and logistical challenges for shippers. A competitive, reliable and singularly regulated freight rail system is essential for continued economic growth.
With fuel and so many of the petrochemical products we depend on every day reliant on freight rail, we need competitive and reliable rail service. More competition fosters innovation, builds resilience, and improves service, which can result in savings for all of us—from the companies using rail to ship their goods to the consumers who ultimately purchase those goods and bring them into their homes. AFPM urges the Surface Transportation Board adopt sensible reforms, including reciprocal switching that will provide more competition-based shipping options.