Railroads, the Free Enterprise Alternative

By Daniel L. Overbey | Go to book overview

17 THE PROMISE AND THE PROSPECTS

The Free Enterprise Alternative harnesses private sector economic forces to create a dynamic, flexible, innovative, and efficient rail industry. Basic to this structure is the separation of carrier and roadway functions, which allows each to be structured in the most appropriate manner: carriers participate in a free market governed by competition, and the roadway network exists as a regulated natural monopoly available for use by all carriers. Joint use of roadways provides both competition and efficiency. The new rail industry structure offers many advantages over the existing traditional industry structure. Despite its benefits, the new structure would doubtless encounter opposition.


GOVERNMENT OWNERSHIP OF ROADWAYS

Many previous proposals for restructuring have called for government ownership of rail roadways. Some proposals have viewed government ownership as a means for addressing inequalities between the railroads and the other modes. Other proposals have envisioned government ownership as simply a means for subsidizing railroad companies.

Government ownership of rail fixed ways would not resolve inequalities among the different modes. The disparity is in the structure, not merely who owns what components. Fixed ways in the other modes are available to any and all carriers, but rail fixed ways are not. Government ownership of rail roadways cannot correct the inequalities, particularly if the government grants individual railroad companies exclusive-use leases.

Government ownership, as a conduit for subsidy to existing railroad companies, would not address the structurally rooted inequities. No method exists to determine a fair or equal amount of subsidy for each mode. Subsidy subverts market economics; equality cannot be obtained through subsidization. Equality can only be achieved through an economic environment which requires each mode to shoulder its own full costs, including user fees based on the most accurate allocation of costs from multipurpose facilities.

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Railroads, the Free Enterprise Alternative
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • New Titles From Quorum Books ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents ix
  • Figures xi
  • Tables xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • 1 - Development of The Railway 3
  • Notes 6
  • 2 - A Product of Necessity 9
  • Notes 13
  • 3 - Degrees Of Standardization 15
  • Notes 18
  • 4 - Changing Times, 4 Changing Needs 19
  • Notes 31
  • Appendix To Chapter 4 Tables 1-4 33
  • 5 - For Everyone Else: The Typical Transportation Industry Structure 41
  • Notes 53
  • 6 - Railroad Industry Structure 55
  • Notes 65
  • 7 - Aspects of Joint Use 67
  • Notes 73
  • 8 - Aspects of Innovation 75
  • Notes 87
  • 9: Economics And Structure 91
  • Appendix To Chapter 9 109
  • 10 - In Theory, in Congress 113
  • Notes 124
  • 11 - A Proposal 127
  • 12 - Roadway Companies 131
  • 13 - Carrier Companies 147
  • Notes 161
  • 14 - Terminals 163
  • 15 - Regulation 173
  • Notes 181
  • 16 - Opportunity For Innovation 183
  • Notes 192
  • Appendix To Chapter 16 Service Alternatives For Short-Haul Traffic 195
  • 17 - The Promise And The Prospects 199
  • Notes 204
  • 18 - A Logical Conclusion 207
  • Notes 210
  • Bibliography 211
  • Index 221
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