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Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) Definition

What Was the Interstate Commerce Fee (ICC)?

The Interstate Commerce Fee (ICC) previously regulated the economics and companies of specified carriers engaged in transportation between states from 1887 to 1995. The ICC was the primary regulatory fee established within the U.S., the place it oversaw widespread carriers. Nonetheless, the company was terminated on the finish of 1995, with its features both having been transferred to different our bodies or in some circumstances rendered out of date by deregulation. 

Key Takeaways

  • The Interstate Management Fee (ICC) regulated entities concerned in interstate transportation from 1887 to 1995.
  • The ICC was finally disbanded, and its remaining duties had been transferred to varied authorities entities. 
  • The ICC began as a result of complaints that railroad firms had been abusing the existence of monopolies of their respective areas. 
  • The powers of the ICC had been constantly expanded by the primary half of the twentieth century.
  • When legal guidelines had been handed that led to the deregulation of those industries, the ICC weakened and finally disbanded utterly. 

Understanding the Interstate Commerce Fee (ICC)

The ICC was established below the 1887 Interstate Commerce Act initially to control railroads, however its powers had been later expanded to cowl different industrial transportation as nicely. Earlier than the Act and the ICC, railroads had been in a position to wield monopoly energy because of the pure economies of scale and community results concerned with their design, building, and operation.

Most economists think about regulation to restrict the pricing and income of such natural monopolies a legit operate of presidency intervention within the economic system so as to defend the pursuits of different companies and shoppers. The ICC was the primary federal industrial regulatory physique of its form and was used as a mannequin for later, comparable federal commissions and businesses.

Arguments have been made that the ICC, regardless of its supposed function, was typically responsible of helping the businesses it was tasked to control in constructing their energy over would-be rivals. 

Historical past of the ICC 

The ICC was established in 1887, following rising public indignation within the Eighteen Eighties over abuses and malpractices by the railroad firms. Initially established to control the railroads, the ICC had jurisdiction over all widespread carriers—excluding airplanes—by 1940.  

By 1910, the ICC had been granted the authority by Congress and the Supreme Courtroom to set charges and revenue ranges of railroads, in addition to to arrange mergers. Its jurisdiction was additionally prolonged to cowl areas resembling sleeping automotive firms, oil pipelines, ferries, terminals, and bridges. This happened as a result of an awesome quantity of complaints relating to the charges charged by railroads on routes inside which there was no supply of competitors. Regulatory management over phone, telegraph, wi-fi, and cable was additionally given to the ICC in 1910, and it exercised authority over these till the institution of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1934.

The ICC’s enforcement powers to set charges had been prolonged within the Nineteen Forties, as had been the investigative powers by which it might pretty decide what truthful charges had been. The ICC was additionally assigned the duty of consolidating railroad methods, in addition to managing any and all labor disputes that occurred throughout the scope of interstate transport. The ICC additionally performed a significant position in imposing Supreme Courtroom choices on the desegregation of the railroads within the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties.

In 1966, the ICC’s security features had been transferred to the Division of Transportation (which was established in that 12 months), however the ICC retained its rate-setting and regulatory features. A normal transfer towards deregulation subsequently noticed the ICC’s authority over charges and routes in each rail and trucking ended because of the implementation of the Staggers Rail Act and Motor Carriers Act in 1980. Each of those acts performed a significant position within the deregulation of those industries, which took a significant toll on the powers of the ICC. 

Most ICC management over interstate trucking was deserted in 1994, with its powers having been transferred to the Federal Freeway Administration and the newly created Surface Transportation Board (each below the auspices of the Division of Transportation). The Fee was subsequently shut down in 1995.

The first group that took over the duties of the now-defunct ICC is the Nationwide Floor Transportation Board. Different companies had been transferred to the Federal Motor Service Security Administration or to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics inside DOT.

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