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The Journal of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University


This article examines the process through which public policy was developed following the bankruptcy of the Penn Central railroad in 1970 to provide for the continuation of rail services in the Northeast and to remedy conditions resulting from federal regulation of the rail industry. The history of rail regulation is described from the perspective of its impact on the operation of the railroads and their financial performance. Four acts—the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973, the Railroad Revitalization Act of 1976, the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, and the Northeast Rail Service Act of 1981—are described in terms of the policy and political pressures that led to their enactment.

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