This bill, H.R. 4440, includes funding for the Interstate Commerce Commission. The ICC's regulation of trucking and railroads is a top item on the regulatory reform agenda for 1980. I have submitted far-reaching bills to Congress to cut away the regulations that overburden these industries. The Commission itself has launched administrative reform actions.
Chairman Howard Cannon of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Harold Johnson and Jim Howard of the House Public Works and Transportation Committee recently announced that they intend to seek passage of trucking reform legislation by June 1, 1980. Therefore, they and their colleagues who wrote this appropriation bill have asked the ICC to continue building a record of reforms but not to implement any major policy changes before that date. The regulatory reform we need should best come through legislation, and I applaud the chairmen's determination to press forward. If, of course, appropriate legislation is not enacted, I would expect the Commission to proceed with all powers to implement reform initiatives.
As to rail reform, I congratulate Chairmen Cannon and Russell Long of the Senate Commerce Committee and Harley Staggers and James Florio of the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee for moving legislation this session. I hope that the Congress will resist pressure to weaken this measure by exempting specific commodities from the reforms. We cannot afford to accept only cosmetic change in rail regulation.
The existing trucking and railroad regulatory structures restrict competition, reduce efficiency, and increase costs. It is time for action, and I urge the Congress to pass meaningful trucking and railroad deregulation legislation.