Interstate Commerce CommissionKey Issues Need to Be Addressed in Determining Future of ICC's Regulatory Functions Gao ID: T-RCED-94-261 July 12, 1994
The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) continues to perform several important rail regulatory functions that are essential as long as there are captive shippers and market-dominated railroads. These duties could conceivably be transferred to the Transportation and Justice Departments, but it is unclear whether the benefits would be significant and the potential exists for loss of independence in decision-making. There is greater potential for budgetary savings in the motor carrier area. Although many shippers and transportation brokers question the need for the current system of motor carrier rate and entry regulation, Congress needs to answer basic questions about the appropriate extent of motor carrier tariff filing and entry application requirements in a deregulated environment. These functions constitute about one-third of ICC's annual budget. ICC's ancillary motor carrier functions, such as providing consumer protection for the movement of household goods, continue to be important and will likely need to be either performed by ICC or transferred to another agency along with the resources to carry them out adequately. If Congress decides to eliminate ICC, GAO believes that the potential impacts of this action on the transportation industry should be taken into account. In addition, a transitional period will be needed to ensure a smooth and orderly transfer of activities. smooth and orderly transfer of activities.