CSX Transportation opposes a proposal before the Surface Transportation Board (STB) that would create unpredictable traffic flows, reduce high levels of customer service achieved over the past few years, and diminish the company's incentive to keep investing at record levels in critically needed transportation infrastructure.
"Our work is focused on achieving high levels of service reliability and predictability, which are critical elements in meeting our customers' needs," said
Cressie Brown, CSX's vice president-service design, in prepared testimony before the STB. A proposal from the National Industrial Transportation League (NIT League) "would undermine much of what we have accomplished in the areas of reliability, efficiency and customer service."
Brown pointed to information and data gleaned from CSX's Customer Advisory Councils and periodic surveys in which customers acknowledged improvements, but said they needed even more reliability to grow their own businesses. New or expanded businesses create job growth and economic development, and rail transportation's fuel efficiency offers significant environmental benefits.
"It is a virtuous cycle of pleasing customers, earning more business, and generating investments in additional resources and new infrastructure," Brown said. "The NIT League proposal turns back the clock on these gains achieved over the past decade."
The NIT League proposal would force railroads, in certain circumstances, to open up their privately built, owned and maintained networks to competitors, creating artificial competition and transferring revenues from the railroads to the handful of customers who recommended the proposal. Brown said the proposal would create uncertainty among railroads over where to deploy resources such as locomotives and train crews, congest interchanges between railroads, and force freight back to the already stressed highways.
"I am very concerned that the NIT League proposal will force cars to locations where we do not have the resources or infrastructure to handle them," Brown said. "Predictable traffic flows and effective planning are essential to our ability to provide a reliable service product. And shipment visibility is critical to resource and capacity planning."
Brown offered examples of how traffic flows could change under the NIT League proposal with one adding 300 miles and three days to an overall movement and another routing more freight trains through an already congested city and potentially affecting passenger and commuter train service.
"It is not in the broader public interest to experiment with a forced switching scheme, which would ultimately create less reliable and less cost effective service for our customers," Brown concluded, noting that the U.S. freight railroad industry already provides the most cost-effective service in the world, giving U.S. companies a competitive advantage. "We urge the Board to reject this sweeping regulatory restructuring and to maintain the balanced environment that is a pillar of our world-class freight rail system."
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For more than 185 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation's economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation's population resides. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and small farming towns alike. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com. Like us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/OfficialCSX) and follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/CSX).