FRCA Back-Story: Organization’s Roots Dates Back Three Decades
The Freight Rail Customer Alliance (FRCA), launched in Washington DC in September 2015, traces its roots back to the early 1980s following the passage of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated the nation’s freight railroads.
In 1984, associations representing coal-burning utilities created Consumers United for Rail Equity (CURE) to advocate for affordable and reliable freight rail service before the U.S. Congress and the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). CURE was fundamentally focused on educating members of Congress, their personal and committee staff, the ICC and its successor agency, the Surface Transportation Board (STB).
After more than three decades, CURE’s leadership in 2014 commissioned an external review of the organization’s mission and structure. The review concluded that there was a continued need for congressional and executive branch education and advocacy on behalf of freight rail shippers, particularly rail-dependent shippers, given that economic conditions have changed substantially since freight rail price structures were last modified in the 1980s.
In December 2014, CURE’s members approved a strategic plan that called for new branding, changing the governance structure, and broadening membership beyond its historic utility base.
On Sept. 9, 2015, CURE was replaced by FRCA, a newly-incorporated non-profit advocacy organization based in Washington, DC.
FRCA is an alliance of freight rail shippers impacted by continued unrestrained freight rail market dominance over rail dependent shippers.
FRCA is seeking changes in Federal law and policy that will provide all freight rail shippers with reliable freight rail service at competitive prices.
FRCA supports strengthening the ability of the STB to provide effective economic oversight of railroads so that freight rail service is competitive, as intended by the U.S. Congress in the Staggers Rail Act of 1980. To achieve this, FRCA supports:
- Effective implementation of the STB Reauthorization Act of 2015, P.L. 114-110, which is the first reauthorization of the STB since 1998.
- Annual Federal appropriations that allow the STB to meet its longstanding and new statutory responsibilities, enhanced functions, and all data management and reporting requirements.
- Removing antitrust exemptions that shield freight railroads from the rules of fair competition that govern almost all other U.S. industries, including all other modes of transportation.
As a part of its launch last year, FRCA Leadership met with numerous key Members of Congress and their staff, and STB Members and staff to:
- Introduce the new organization.
- Advocate for STB reauthorization, extension of the Passenger Train Control implementation deadline, and necessary annual appropriated funding for the STB.
- Explore ways FRCA can engage more with the STB.
An umbrella organization, FRCA members include trade associations representing more than 3,500 manufacturing, agriculture and alternative fuels companies, electric utilities, and their customers.
Current trade association, and individual authority or corporate members include: American Public Power Association, Edison Electric Institute, National Propane Gas Association, and National Rural Electrical Cooperative Association, Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Inc., Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Lafayette Utilities System, Lincoln Electric System, Missouri River Energy Services, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, and Salt River Project.
In growing its membership base, FRCA continues proactively reaching out to organizations representing other freight rail-dependent shippers and individual entities impacted by unfair freight rail practices. For more information contact FRCA’s Executive Director, Ann Warner, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 202-469-3471.