REVIEW OF THE BRANCH-LINE POLICY ESTABLISHED BY THE RAILROAD REVITALIZATION AND REGULATORY REFORM ACT OF 1976

The purpose of this paper is to define and analyze the new rail branch-line policy established by the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform (4R) Act of 1976. On the basis of the statutory provisions, relevant Interstate Commerce Commission and Federal Railroad Administration regulations, and comments filed by the various parties in the relevant abandonment rule-making proceedings, the paper addresses the major procedural and substantive changes regarding abandonment and local rail service assistance and their effects on the allocation of resources in the rail industry and on the balance of power among the various groups involved. One of the important changes made by the 4R Act is the new advance-notice requirements, which include the system diagram maps and the new notice of intent. Another important addition to the procedures is the provision enabling people, firms, and communities to make financial offers; the railroads and the offerors of financial assistance are also permitted to negotiate an agreement that would keep the line in service. In addition, new accounting standards for branch lines and abandonments and a new local rail continuation subsidy program were established. The statutory provisions and regulations do not, however, clarify the criteria by which petitions are granted or denied. One major conclusion is that the new branch-line policy may not help the railroads because the policy has not increased the probability that a particular line will be permitted to be abandoned and, furthermore, the allowed subsidy may not be compensatory. The new branch-line policy may also bring less efficient allocation of resources than the old policy.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: pp 5-11
  • Monograph Title: Surface transport regulation and railroad planning
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00196871
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309028329
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Aug 28 1979 12:00AM