Previous chapters examined the development of the railroad industry and its structure. Particular attention was given to the origins, decline, and recent rebirth of the roadway/carrier separation concept--the idea of a rail fixed way being owned by an entity separate and apart from the carrier companies. The typical industry structure used by the other transport modes was described and compared with the railroads' unique structure. It was concluded that the reasons which originally prompted adoption of the present railroad industry structure are no longer valid: technology no longer demands that a single carrier possess a monopoly of service over each rail line.
Academic and legislative proposals of recent years recognize this fact and promote roadway/carrier separation. However, the proposals vary in quality, scope, and understanding of rail operations. Moreover, none of the proposals directly addresses the two key issues of roadway/carrier separation: (1) exclusive local service, with its captive industries and monopolistic aspects; and (2) the existence of non-common carriers and their use of rail roadways.
The remaining chapters detail a comprehensive proposal for restructuring the railroad industry, based on roadway/carrier separation. This recommended proposal squarely addresses the issues of captive industries and non-common carriers. The greatest advantage of the new structure, though, is that it allows and even promotes innovation within the rail industry. Change is encouraged as a positive factor, an asset to a dynamic industry. This is the Free Enterprise Alternative.
The Free Enterprise Alternative is based on the idea of separate roadway and carrier ownership--a concept proven successful in the highway, water, and air transportation modes. Rail roadways would be owned by regional "toll road" companies, unaffiliated with any particular carrier company.