ATA to railroads: Caution, truck crossing ahead

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 12) — Truckers are hoisting a new signal for the railroads: Caution – Truck Crossing Ahead.

American Trucking Associations president Walter McCormick suggested the lobby group might support “competitive access” to rail lines by other railroads — a policy the railroads adamantly oppose.

“We’ve got to take a look at that issue in the context of what makes the most sense for an efficient, economical, freight transportation system for the U.S.,” he said. Truckers are rail customers, too, after all, and would benefit from increased competition among the railroads.

McCormick said the ATA — which has been attending meetings of the Alliance for Rail Competition, an organization of rail shippers — would consider adding its considerable voice to calls for lower barriers to competition and giving shippers more say in ratemaking.

A formal policy would be explored at the association’s executive committee meetings in June, he said.

McCormick did little to mask the association’s competitive interests, noting that the railroads oppose further productivity gains for trucking.

“If railroads do not want to see more freight moving more efficiently on the concrete highway, then we have to consider the issue of how do we move more freight more efficiently and more competitively on the iron highway,” he said.

Paul Oakley, director of the legislative department at the Association of American Railroads, said such statements amount to little more than “harrassment.”

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