• Congress Considers Repeal of Railroad Antitrust Exemptions
  • October 17, 2007 | Authors: Donald M. Barnes; Alan R. Malasky; Salvatore A. Romano
  • Law Firm: Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP - Washington Office
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would repeal long-standing antitrust exemptions for U.S. railroads. Among other things, the proposed legislation would remove entirely the exemption for collective ratemaking, allow the Justice Department, the FTC, state attorneys general, and private parties to file suit to enjoin anticompetitive railroad mergers and acquisitions under the Clayton Act, and would permit injured private parties to sue for treble damages for antitrust violations. For many years, the Surface Transportation Board had principal jurisdiction over competitive issues in the railroad industry, but that Board's oversight has come under recent criticism by the Government Accountability Office. The bill is expected to reach the Senate floor this fall but its fate is uncertain, notwithstanding bi-partisan support. Similar legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives last spring, but has been stalled in a jurisdictional dispute among three House committees.