Congressional declaration of policy
The Congress finds and declares that—
Essential rail service in the midwest and northeast region of the United States is provided by railroads which are today insolvent and attempting to undergo reorganization under the Bankruptcy Act.
This essential rail service is threatened with cessation or significant curtailment because of the inability of the trustees of such railroads to formulate acceptable plans for reorganization. This rail service is operated over rail properties which were acquired for a public use, but which have been permitted to deteriorate and now require extensive rehabilitation and modernization.
The public convenience and necessity require adequate and efficient rail service in this region and throughout the Nation to meet the needs of commerce, the national defense, the environment, and the service requirements of passengers, United States mail, shippers, States and their political subdivisions, and consumers.
Continuation and improvement of essential rail service in this region is also necessary to preserve and maintain adequate national rail services and an efficient national rail transportation system.
Rail service and rail transportation offer economic and environmental advantages with respect to land use, air pollution, noise levels, energy efficiency and conservation, resource allocation, safety, and cost per ton-mile of movement to such extent that the preservation and maintenance of adequate and efficient rail service is in the national interest.
These needs cannot be met without substantial action by the Federal Government.
It is therefore declared to be the purpose of Congress in this chapter to provide for—
the identification of a rail service system in the midwest and northeast region which is adequate to meet the needs and service requirements of this region and of the national rail transportation system;
the reorganization of railroads in this region into an economically viable system capable of providing adequate and efficient rail service to the region;
the establishment of the United States Railway Association, with enumerated powers and responsibilities;
the establishment of the Consolidated Rail Corporation, with enumerated powers and responsibilities;
assistance to States and local and regional transportation authorities for continuation of local rail services threatened with cessation; and
necessary Federal financial assistance at the lowest possible cost to the general taxpayer.
(Pub. L. 93–236, title I, § 101, Jan. 2, 1974, 87 Stat. 986.)