Open Access Presidential Scholars Thesis
Steve Corbin, Chair
Railroads--Right of way--Government ownership;
Transportation is a crucial element in any economy. With such a large portion of the United States' economy centered around transportation, an efficient system of moving goods would be in the nation's best interest.
Competitive markets are the most effective mechanism for allocating resources efficiently. An efficient transportation system, therefore, would be one where competition among carriers is the norm. 1
Enormous infrastructure costs prohibit new railroads from entering the market, and prevent existing railroads from competing with trucks for freight transportation revenues. This paper focuses on the lack of competition in the railroad industry and attempts to demonstrate why trains are a superior mode of transportation than trucks. This paper will also show that increasing competition in the railroad industry can reduce freight transportation rates, increase service quality, reduce pollution, and reduce fossil fuel consumption. Nationalizing railroad rights-of-way in the United States would significantly improve competition in the transportation sector.
Before discussing nationalization as a socially desirable policy for railroad rights-of-way, it is appropriate to first examine the competitive conditions that exist in the railroad and trucking industries.
Date of Award
Department of Economics
Presidential Scholar Designation
A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation Presidential Scholar
1 PDF file (21 pages)
©2017 John T. Flint
Flint, John T., "An argument for the nationalization of railroad rights-of-way" (1996). Presidential Scholars Theses (1990 – 2006). 21.