ACC Welcomes Senate Solution to Address Freight Rail Problems
WASHINGTON (September 27, 2022) — The American Chemistry Council welcomes the introduction of the Reliable Rail Service Act and calls on the Senate to support its passage.
During several hearings before Congress and the Surface Transportation Board (STB) earlier this year, ACC called on policymakers to address escalating problems with freight rail service that are harming American manufacturing.
Senator Baldwin has introduced a much-needed bill to address chronic rail disruptions and spur better service performance.
Why it matters
With concerns mounting over freight rail service failures, the legislation seeks to resolve serious freight rail service problems that are disrupting the economy and contributing to the supply chain crisis. A recent survey of ACC members found that freight rail service degraded with almost 50% of companies reporting that rail problems grew worse in the second quarter of 2022. Poor rail service and missed deliveries have resulted in lost production for chemical manufacturers and harmed the other economic sectors they support – from farms to factories.
The legislation recognizes freight service problems are systemic and require action by policymakers. Years of railroad actions to cut workers, close rail yards, and take locomotives out of service have gutted network resilience, making service disruptions more frequent, severe, and long-lasting.
The bill addresses key issues to help support the STB, including the following:
- Clarifying that railroads have a statutory obligation to provide “timely, efficient, and reliable rail service;” and
- Establishing specific criteria to hold railroads accountable for fulfilling this obligation.
“Manufacturers and consumers can’t keep being subjected to one rail crisis after another – we need Congress to act,” said Chris Jahn, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Chemistry Council. “Senator Baldwin has put together a sensible solution aimed at addressing ongoing freight rail service failures. This is a problem everyone should be interested in solving. We urge Democrats and Republicans to come together to pass legislation that will ensure railroads live up to their obligation to provide reliable service.”