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CSX Urges STB To Reject Flawed Switching Scheme

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., March 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CSX Transportation opposes a proposal before the Surface Transportation Board (STB) that would create unpredictable traffic flows, reduce high levels of customer service achieved over the past few years, and diminish the company's incentive to keep investing at record levels in critically needed transportation infrastructure.

"Our work is focused on achieving high levels of service reliability and predictability, which are critical elements in meeting our customers' needs," said Cressie Brown, CSX's vice president-service design, in prepared testimony before the STB. A proposal from the National Industrial Transportation League (NIT League) "would undermine much of what we have accomplished in the areas of reliability, efficiency and customer service."

Brown pointed to information and data gleaned from CSX's Customer Advisory Councils and periodic surveys in which customers acknowledged improvements, but said they needed even more reliability to grow their own businesses. New or expanded businesses create job growth and economic development, and rail transportation's fuel efficiency offers significant environmental benefits.

"It is a virtuous cycle of pleasing customers, earning more business, and generating investments in additional resources and new infrastructure," Brown said. "The NIT League proposal turns back the clock on these gains achieved over the past decade."

The NIT League proposal would force railroads, in certain circumstances, to open up their privately built, owned and maintained networks to competitors, creating artificial competition and transferring revenues from the railroads to the handful of customers who recommended the proposal. Brown said the proposal would create uncertainty among railroads over where to deploy resources such as locomotives and train crews, congest interchanges between railroads, and force freight back to the already stressed highways.

"I am very concerned that the NIT League proposal will force cars to locations where we do not have the resources or infrastructure to handle them," Brown said. "Predictable traffic flows and effective planning are essential to our ability to provide a reliable service product. And shipment visibility is critical to resource and capacity planning."

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