Deregulating the Rails

December 8, 2005

Deregulation of U.S. industry has been such a controversial issue for the past few decades that it is perhaps understandable that people do not realize that one deregulatory initiative — the 1980 Staggers Act that deregulated the rail freight industry — surprisingly turned out to benefit both consumers and the industry.

As we appreciate the achievements of rail deregulation, it is useful to realize that the policy succeeded in large part because it brought buyers and sellers closer together to achieve mutual benefits. In the process, the U.S. railroad industry has been revitalized and will contribute mightily to the efficiency of the nation’s distribution system for the foreseeable future.