Interstate Commerce Commission:

Key Issues Need to Be Addressed in Determining Future of ICC's Regulatory Functions

T-RCED-94-261: Published: Jul 12, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 1994.

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GAO discussed the Interstate Commerce Commission's (ICC) regulatory responsibilities. GAO noted that: (1) ICC has the responsibility to balance the needs of shippers and communities for reasonably priced railroad services against the railroads' need for adequate revenues; (2) ICC railroad activities include resolving rate and track rights disputes and reviewing and approving line abandonments, mergers, and acquisitions; (3) in fiscal year (FY) 1993, ICC devoted 37 percent of its resources to railroad regulatory activities and 63 percent of its resources to motor carrier regulatory activities; (4) cost savings are more likely to come from reducing ICC motor carrier activities rather than its railroad activities; (5) although ICC oversight of motor carrier tariffs has been reduced to a formality, its other motor carrier oversight activities continue to be important; (6) transferring ICC railroad oversight responsibilities to other executive agencies could compromise the ICC decisionmaking process and create conflicts of interest without significantly reducing administrative costs; (7) there continues to be a need for an independent commission to oversee the railroad industry; and (8) the elimination of ICC will require a phase-out period and the smooth and orderly transfer of functions, but proposed legislation only addresses funding issues.

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