Expert panelists from the trucking industry and various public interest groups debated federal deregulation of trucking in a segment of the PBS series "The Advocates" taped last night in the Arco Forum at the Kennedy School of Government.
Former Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, who moderated the discussion, said "Deregulation would allow competition on routes where it is now restricted, but it would also end the obligation the carriers now have to serve less profitable routes."
State Rep. Barney Frank '61, a lecturer at the Kennedy School, advocated deregulation, saying that, "Unlike most businessmen, regulated truckers can get together in private and agree to fix their prices--they can get the ICC to keep most of their competitors from even getting into the business at all. We think that's very inflationary."
Frank and his witnesses, including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy '54 --appearing from Washington, D.C. via a long range television hook-up--"argued that deregulation would inevitably lead to lower prices and increased efficiency in the trucking industry because of the increased competition.
Lisle Baker, a professor of law at the Suffolk University Law School, led the faction opposing deregulation and said it could only lead to neglect of outlying communitues, discriminatory pricing and decreased efficiency in the industry due to fragmentation and route duplication.