Law and Economic Regulation in Transportation

Law and Economic Regulation in Transportation

Law and Economic Regulation in Transportation

Law and Economic Regulation in Transportation


Dempsey and Thoms provide an authoritative overview of the development of transportation law in the America in the last century. They trace the development of American transportation, the origins of economic regulation, the changing role of regulators, and the effects of deregulation. The limitation of loss, damage, and other tort suits against carriers by legislation is considered, and other chapters review government operation of railroads from Amtrak and Conrail to commuter trains and local freight lines, the Railway Labor Act and other labor legislation pertinent to the transportation industry, and the sponsorship of urban mass transit by the federal government.


Why a book about the regulation of transportation when the press regularly informs us about the triumph of deregulation? Why should the law student, business student, practitioner or attorney care to concern himself with this ostensibly arcane area of the law?

We have written this book and used it in our courses in transportation law because we agree that it is a fascinating subject to teach and an effective way to learn how the political, legal and economic forces converge to make national policy.

--Transportation is the most important industry in the United States so far as employment, investment and impact on other industries is concerned. It is the fundamental infrastructure which facilitates the free flow of commerce. Its influence is so pervasive that special laws have been promulgated to govern its operation.

--Transportation was the first industry to be regulated and, a century later, the first to be significantly deregulated. Most schemes for government regulation of industry in the United States are based upon those originally developed for railroads in 1887 and, subsequently, for airlines and motor carriers. The contemporary pattern of deregulation for financial institutions, communications and energy is again following the lead of the transportation field.

--The reports of regulation's death, like that of Mark Twain, are highly exaggerated. The Civil Aeronautics Board may have met its demise at the end of 1984, but its functions in international aviation, local service airlines, antitrust and consumer protection have been assumed by the Department of Transportation. The Interstate Commerce Commission still exercises important functions concerning surface transportation. State regulatory bodies continue to exercise jurisdiction over aspects of local service.

It appears that even with the diminution of economic regulation of airlines, safety regulation by the Federal Aviation Administration continues to play . . .

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