One hoped-for legacy was a turn around in market share. But 40 some years later, rail freight market share continues to fall. For more than half of the years following Staggers' passage, rail rates effectively declined. That’s no longer the business case. Staggers allowed railroads more independent rate-making rights. In return, rail increased capital investments. It was as Mr. Hatch says — part of a grand bargain.
But over the past three years, capital investments have on an annual dollar basis declined. Yet the implied Wall Street rate of return in RR assets is mathematically higher than I saw during my long career — now above the 14% and up range.
The legacy question might well be “is now the time for a rebalancing?” There was a recent TRB committee study of ”What now, so long after Staggers was passed?” But no action yet on the report's suggestions. The report is internet-accessible as a short two-page summary.