STB VETERAN MORGAN STEPS DOWN EARLY
Linda Morgan will resign from the three-person U.S. Surface Transportation Board on April 8, almost nine months before her term as commissioner expires, according to the Washington Post.
The STB is in charge of resolving rate and service disputes between railroads and shippers and approving railroad mergers.
Morgan, a Democrat, was chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission when its jurisdiction was scaled back in 1995 to focus just on railroad issues. She continued as STB chairman until December, when the Bush administration replaced her with Roger Nober.
Morgan told the Post that efforts in Congress to create more competition by forcing railroads to give other service providers access to their tracks could undermine the very infrastructure shippers rely on move their goods. Railroads can barely pay to properly maintain and expand their networks and further rate cuts would make such investment even harder, she said.
Ed Emmett, president of the National Industrial Transportation League, reacted to Morgan's comments in the association's weekly newsletter. 'Unfortunately, she still seems to view railroad customers as a set group, instead of trying to inject the benefits of competition where appropriate, into the industry. If the railroads do not expand their customer base, they are doomed. Of course, captive shippers want lower rates. And, of course, railroads want higher rates. The real issue is how to bring growth to the industry.'