What are the top 3 legislative issues that will be critical for rail for the next administration? (Tony Hatch)

Tony Hatch (4)

I am not sure we’ll get to legislative issues early in the administration – let’s see how Georgia plays out.

Biden is clearly pro-rail, and he will restore stability to trade and investment, which is HUGE for rails and rail shippers. Given the pandemic, we tend to forget how much damage was done to North American rail volumes by the trade wars – plural (NAFTA/USMCA, China, etc.).

On a strictly legislative front, the STB Reauthorization will be important as will be the transport funding bill (what we used to call the “Highway Bill” but now is the FAST Act). This year the (Democratic) house attempted to legislate two-man crews – that is over-reach (it has been a negotiation since, literally, time immemorial, and it is counter to the drive to technology (by year-end with PTC the rails are – from an IT perspective – almost ready for full autonomy on railways and this race vs. AV trucking is….everything). It makes no sense (except for politics). DC will also see a full complement (5) of STB Commissioners…. the AAR and the ASLRRA (and IANA, NRC, RSI, RSSI, REMSA, RTA etc., etc.) will have lots to do in 2021!