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Historically, what was U.S. public policy toward freight transportation? What is different today?
U.S. public policy toward freight transportation
The United States public policy has ever since shaped freight transportation as it is being experienced even today. HOS ruled which were first issued in 1938 attracted some sense of controversy where the purpose was to enhance highway safety via minimizing truck driver fatigue (McNeeley et al., 2018). During this era, HOS rules required that operators of commercial vehicles to 10 hours driving session followed by 8-hour rest. Policies related to the truck speed limit and speed governor rules in 1901 (McNeeley et al., 2018). The policies also entailed reductions of the volume of fuel consumption during the energy crisis period. Afterward, this led to the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act in 1973 and a national limit of 55 miles per hour. After the repeal in 1994, the national limit to 65 miles per hour. In 1991, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) required transportation planners to ensure that freight transportation requirement was put into consideration while establishing transportation plans among other investment decisions (Sciara, 2017). ISTEA was the basis for the end of Interstate Era and transfer of leadership specifically for transportation planning from the federal government to state and local ones.
Additionally, the National Intermodal Transportation System comprised of the unified transportation program. It consists of a National Highway System necessary for smooth movement (Najafi, Ardekani, & Shahandashti, 2016). Presently, some of the development relating to freight policies include the development of intercontinental railroad and construction of the Interstate Highway System. Besides, policies have been put in place to promote economic deregulation of the freights transportation industry and the implementation of ISTEA. In conclusion, there are various differences between public policies of the past and today, especially on among other things development of interstate highway system and railway system among other issues.
McNeeley, M. E., Godfrey, Y. S., Davies, K. S., Bell, T. P., & Lowry, S. G. (2018). Commercial Transportation. Mercer L. Rev., 70, 923.
Najafi, M., Ardekani, S., & Shahandashti, S. M. (2016). Integrating underground freight transportation into existing intermodal systems (No. Report No. 0-6870-1).
Sciara, G. C. (2017). Metropolitan transportation planning: Lessons from the past, institutions for the future. Journal of the American Planning Association, 83(3), 262-276.
Following the broad expansion of interstate rail transportation in the second half of the 19th century, the federal government of the United States began enacting formal transportation policy to combat the emergence of powerful railroad monopolies. With the passing of the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, a five member board known as the Interstate Commerce Commission was created to enforce federal anti-monopoly legislation (Interstate Commerce Act, n.d.). Although the initial authority of the ICC was relatively limited, over the course of the 20thcentury more laws were enacted to expand the commission’s enforcement powers over rail, motor, and domestic water transportation, in addition to freight forwarders (Coyle, Novack, & Gibson, 2016). From the time of its insemination, the ICC brought with it an expansion of federal regulations and an increasingly more invasive federal policy toward the transportation of freight in the United States. Further developments in transportation capabilities brought with them a corresponding growth in the ICC’s control over all modes surface freight transportation.
Toward the end of the 20th century, US transportation policy shifted from a general policy of increasing strictness to one of deregulation. The ICC Termination Act of 1995 replaced the ICC with the Surface Transportation Board, an entity with significantly reduced regulatory powers, and left the market to generally govern its own rates and quality of services (Coyle et al, 2016). This shift in policy toward deregulation of freight transportation within the United States has mirrored a shift on the world stage toward globalization and free trade. The principles here have been fundamentally the same, that free trade and transportation of freight with limited governmental manipulations leads to better quality and prices throughout the market. The last two years have witnessed a divergence in the international trade policy of the United States, especially regarding the trade war with China. Yet this has been undertaken generally as a reaction to violations of free trade principles by the Chinese government, and gives no indication that the United States intends to completely abandon free trade practices, especially as it applies to domestic trade.
Coyle, J., Novack, R., & Gibson, B. (2016). Transportation: A global supply chain perspective (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Interstate Commerce Act (1887) document info. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=49
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