Deregulation of the freight rail industry in the 1980’s led to intense consolidation of the major railroads in the United States, dropping the number of railroads from over forty to seven. Four of the major railroads handle 90 percent of the nation’s traffic. Reduced rail competition costs Wisconsin businesses and consumers a great deal of money each year. Some Wisconsin electricity producers report that rail costs have increased by over 100 percent over the last few years, increasing electricity rates on homeowners, farmers, and businesses.
Businesses in many areas of Wisconsin are served by only a single railroad for at least some portion of their shipment. The loss of competitive transportation options and an outdated regulatory structure has led to the unrestrained use of market power by the railroads. Shippers have experienced not only steep cost increases to transport products, but unreliable service as well.
WI FRCA participants: Alliant Energy, American Chemistry Council, Chippewa Valley Bean, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Domtar, Erco Worldwide, IBEW Local 2150, Leicht Transfer and Storage, Madison Gas & Electric, Manitowoc Grey Iron, Midwest Food Processors Association, Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin, Omnova Solutions Inc., Packaging Corporation of America , WEC Energy Group, WI Electric Cooperative Association, Wisconsin Agri-Business Association, Wisconsin Cast Metals Association, Wisconsin Central Group, Wisconsin Corn Growers Assoc. / WI Biofuels Assoc., Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Wisconsin Paper Council, Wisconsin Public Service Corp., Wisconsin Utilities Association, and WPPI Energy.
WI FRCA supports national efforts to improve our nation’s freight rail transportation policies. The Freight Rail Customer Alliance is a strong advocate for Federal policies that restore fairness to the freight rail marketplace.