Ticket to Ride
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is preparing to release a major bill to extend billions of dollars in highway, transit and safety programs and overhaul regulations governing transportation. Railroad companies, an industry worth more than $61 billion, have been pushing for a rollback of some safety regulations, and they have the influence to get what they want: CREW researchers found that the railroads’ contributions to current committee members jumped more than 25% between the 2008 and 2010 campaign cycles.
Additionally, railroads, affiliated companies, and industry trade groups have spent more than $152 million on federal lobbying since 2007. The current roster of lobbyists includes at least four former members of Congress, two of whom have sons currently serving on the subcommittee that oversees railroads. The current chair of the subcommittee is Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), son of former Rep. Bud Shuster (R-PA), one of the railroad industry lobbyists.