Environment: Untangling Transportation

"I want to raise a debate," said William T. Coleman Jr. last week. The Secretary of Transportation may do just that. He sent Congress a 53-page Statement of National Transportation Policy to cut through the tangle of discriminatory laws and federal red tape that now help some U.S. carriers, but at the expense of others. Not concrete enough to be a true plan, the statement nevertheless lays out the broad principles that the Secretary believes will lead to "a more safe, efficient, diverse and competitive transportation system."

The chief recommendation is a fairer division of federal subsidies. Railroads, which now get little...

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