Deregulation of the railroad industry, increased funding for public participation in regulatory proceedings and hospital cost containment will be the targets of the first major consumer-oriented legislative proposals to be offered by the Carter administration in the new Congress.
White House aide Stuart E. Eizenstat, addressing the 1979 Consumer Assembly here yesterday, called the Carter administration "the most consumer-oriented administration in this centrury." To make his point, he outlined the administration's legislative plans in the consumer area.
Regulatory reform in the form of proposals for deregulation of both the rail and trucking industries were the first mentioned by Eizenstat. Railroads will be the first to be deregulated, sources say, because the industry is supporting deregulation. The trucking industry, however, is fighting similar efforts.
"These are particularly important initiatives for consumers because the costs of regulated surface transportation are borne by the consumers as reflected in the price of virtually every product available in the marketplace," Eizenstat said.
He said that while the successful deregulation of the airline industry had easy-to-recognize benefits in the form of lower air fares, saving from deregulation of surface transportation will not be so visible because they are gained indirectly.
"As a result," Eizenstat said, "strong leadership from grassroots groups througout the country will be needed to demonstrate the savings to consumers of rail and truck deregulation."
Eizenstat said also that in March the administration "will be proposing legislation to reform the Administrative Procedures Act" in order to increase public participation in regulatory proceedings.
"One major component of this regulatory reform package," he said, "will be a proposal to provide funding to citizen and business groups which can make a substantial contribution to a regulatory proceeding but which do not have the resources to participate."
Pointing out that hospital charges grew 13 percent last year, Eizenstat said hospital cost containment is one of President Carter's "highest legislative priorities."
Part of the administration hospitalcost-containment legislation will be an attempt to set a ceiling on the size of hospital revenue increases, he said.