CSX continues efforts to sidle rail bill
Railroads continue efforts to modify proposed legislation to reregulate their industry.
“Railroads must maintain a safe, service ready network and pay their own way,” said Michael Ward, chief executive officer of CSX Corp. “The regulatory framework in effect today allows us to do that.”
Ward told railroad industry analysts during the company’s quarterly earning call that “we’re having good, active dialogues with the Senate Commerce Committee” over planned changes in the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act, which was passed by the committee in December. “We're making them aware of some of the concerns we have, suggesting some modifications we think that would make this more balanced and allow us to continue to make the monies to make the investments that are required.
“At a time when the U.S. competitive advantage for manufacturers is critically needed, we provide a unique and compelling benefit for U.S. businesses in the global marketplace. That investment and the associated job creation will not be possible without future earnings growth to support it. That is the decision that's on the table in D.C., to build or not, to create jobs or not, and that's why we remain concerned about potential legislation,” he added.
Ward said, “I don't see any dramatic change in the pace of movement” of the legislation moving forward, noting that while health care is no longer crowding the Senate’s calendar, the legislature has other issues on its plate such as financial reform, energy or climate legislation.
“I think we'll continue our dialogue with them and hopefully have something productive come out of that,” he said. Proposals to eliminate some antitrust protections railroads enjoy “may eventually be folded into the Senate Commerce legislation, but I think that's been an ongoing dialogue and that really has not change dramatically since our last call,” he said.
On another regulatory issue, Ward said he believed railroads 'will live with' a requirement that railroads invest in new “positive train control” and have it in place by 2015.” But CSX has raised its estimate of complying with PTC from $750 million to $1.2 billion, with about $170 million to be spent this year. ' Chris Dupin
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