Staggers Rail Act Partially Deregulates Railroad Industry
After the ICC failed to move forward with deregulation, Congress passed the Staggers Rail Act. This legislation, named for Congressman Harley Staggers of West Virginia, revolutionized the business of railroads. Signed into law by President Carter, the act phased out industrywide rate-making and encouraged railroads to compete with each other as well as other modes. Railroads also were given more freedom to abandon unprofitable lines, set their own prices and tailor services that would meet specific shipper needs. They received broad authority to use contracts with shippers. For perhaps the first time since the early 1900s, railroads were able to behave like other businesses.