When Congress passed the Staggers Act in 1980 there were more than 40 Class I railroads competing for business. Today, after more than 50 mergers and consolidations, there are seven Class I railroads, and four of them control more than 95 percent of the railroad business. Three control more than 70 percent of grain movement. Consolidation has led states, regions and entire industries to become captive to a single railroad. This level of concentration and lack of competition was never envisioned by Congress.
Many wheat growers continue to face significant issues with both rail rates and service, and NAWG staff works with Members of Congress, rail companies and coalition partners to seek relief and resolution to these issues and others related to rail captivity and capacity.
NAWG has frequently worked on rail policy with the Alliance for Rail Competition (ARC) and Consumers United for Rail Equity (CURE). NAWG also participates in BNSF’s Ag Rail Business Council and is looking to engage in similar discussions with leaders of other railroads, including Union Pacific.