Opinion: Wall Street and carriers use PSR to boost profits, but ignore drawbacks

(Source: Fortune.com opinion column by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), July 21, 2021. Rep. DeFazio is Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee).

WASHINGTON, D.C. ó But PSR is not some fancy optimization strategy to increase freight volume or improve operations and reduce emissions; rather, it is a business strategy promoted by Wall Street to boost short-term profits. Wall Street investors have proven they donít care about the long-term health of the industries from which they seek to extract wealth. Similarly, they donít care about ensuring an efficient, reliable, and safe freight service that drives the U.S. economy.

Freight rail does not function without a strong workforce. Letís not forget that prior to COVID-19, from 2015 to 2019, the freight railroad industry slashed the average size of its workforce by over 17%. Itís little wonder that STB Chairman Martin Oberman has sought information about how such a reduction may be related to or contributed to recent shipper complaints. I may be guilty of caring about middle-class workers and their safety more than Wall Street millionaires and billionaires, but I sleep just fine bearing that burden.

My goal has been and remains to foster a healthy freight rail market that boosts the overall economy and reduces carbon emissions. Wall Streetís goal is to get wealthieróno matter the impact on our economy, environment, transportation system, or workforce.

Full story: www.fortune.com

Thursday, July 22, 2021
bentley@ble-t.org

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