CSX Spending Big on Lobbyists; ANTITRUST Railroads Enjoy Protections That Are Now under Review

By Dixon, Matt | The Florida Times Union, May 2, 2010 | Go to article overview

CSX Spending Big on Lobbyists; ANTITRUST Railroads Enjoy Protections That Are Now under Review


Dixon, Matt, The Florida Times Union


Byline: MATT DIXON

Jacksonville-based rail carrier CSX Transportation has poured millions into lobbying against a bill that would end railroad industry antitrust exemptions, and another - seen as a watered-down compromise - that would bolster the federal agency that regulates the industry.

The fight against tougher regulations comes at a time when Tampa-based Seminole Electric Cooperative Inc. is challenging what it calls an unfair increase in CSX freight rates affecting shipments of coal to its Palatka generating station. The rate increases upped the companies' costs by $80 million in 2009, a Seminole spokesman said. Overall, the company had $1.2 billion in operating expenses in 2009, according to its annual report.

The two bills opposed by CSX - and the rest of the industry - would not directly affect the ability to set rates. Observers, however, say that the industry's push-back against the closure of antitrust exemptions, coupled with big rate increases that the few remaining private rail carriers can impose, helps pull the curtain back on an influential industry that has been exempt from portions of federal antitrust laws since the 1920s.

"They are one of the biggest lobbying players out there," said Bob Szabo, executive director of Consumers United for Rail Equity, a coalition of rail customers that itself spent $700,000 lobbying Congress in 2009. "Railroads are very powerful political players."

The industry spent $46.5 million lobbying Congress in 2009, a 90 percent increase over 2000 levels, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

REACHING RECORD LEVELS

CSX's efforts against the two bills has upped the company's overall spending on lobbyists to record levels, eclipsing $5 million in 2009 (a nearly $1 million increase over 2008), and has CSX on pace to spend $5.6 million in 2010, according to the company's first-quarter lobbying reports.

Of the $5 million spent in 2009, more than $3.3 million was related to the fight against the antitrust bill, according to lobbying reports. CSX ranks third out of the 90 companies that filed reports lobbying for or against the bill. Ahead of them on the list are rail carriers Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific.

The first bill, HR233/S146, would place all railroad company mergers, acquisitions and rail-line sales - many of which are currently exempt - under federal antitrust laws administered by the Department of Justice. The bill would also ensure that private parties could use antitrust laws to get remedies for anti-competitive harm caused by railroads.

The antitrust exemptions were given by Congress in the 1920s at a time when the rail industry faced stiffer government regulation. In the 1970s regulation on the industry began to ease, but the exemptions remained in place. Opponents of the exemptions argue they are outdated.

"Railroads today benefit from several antitrust exemptions and immunities which are legacies of a bygone era," said M. Howard Morse, of the American Bar Association, in testimony about the bill before Congress in 2009.

The railroad industry, proponents of the exemptions say, are already subject to most antitrust laws, and in areas they are exempt are overseen by the Surface Transportation Board (STB).

"Railroads cannot, under law, collectively agree to set rates, take other rate-related actions, or allocate markets," said Gary Sease, a CSX spokesman.

ANOTHER HARD CHOICE

The House version of the bill has been bogged down in committee, and the Senate version has been pulled by sponsor Herb Kohl, D-Wis. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

CSX Spending Big on Lobbyists; ANTITRUST Railroads Enjoy Protections That Are Now under Review
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.