Railroads justify rate discrimination against captive shippers on the grounds that in the long run it reduces everyone's cost. If railroads charged all customers the same average rate, they argue, shippers who have the option of switching to trucks or other forms of transportation would do so, leaving remaining customers to shoulder the cost of keeping up the line. It's theory to which many economists subscribe, but in practice it often leaves railroads in the position of determining which companies will flourish and which will fail. "Do we really want railroads to be the arbiters of who wins and who loses in the marketplace?" asks Martin Bercovici, a Washington lawyer who frequently represents shipper.
Many captive shippers also worry they will soon be hit with a round of huge rate increases. The railroad industry as a whole, despite its brightening fortunes, still does not earn enough to cover the cost of the capital it must invest to keep up with its surging traffic. Yet railroads continue to borrow billions to acquire one another, with Wall Street cheering them on. Consider the $10.2 billion bid by Norfolk Southern and CSX to acquire Conrail this year. Conrail's net railway operating income in 1996 was just $427 million, less than half of the carrying costs of the transaction. Who's going to pay for the rest of the bill? Many captive shippers fear that they will, as Norfolk Southern and CSX increase their grip on the market.
54. The word "arbiters" (line 6, paragraph 4) most probably refers to those ________.
[A] who work as coordinators
[B] who function as judges
[C] who supervise transactions
[D] who determine the price
本题为猜词题。定位至第四段。文章第四段末句为Do we really want railroads to be the arbiters of who wins and who loses in the marketplace？。通过在上下文中寻找线索。不难发现，上文谈到“It’s a theory to which many economists subscribe, but in practice it often leaves railroads in the position of determining which companies will flourish and which will fail.”由此可以得出铁路公司处于“determining which companies will flourish and which will fail.”的地位，其中“which companies will flourish”是下句中“who wins”的近义表达，“which will fail”相当于下句中的“who loses”。因此可以得出，arbiters主要功能为“determining”（决定），即裁决者，故本题选择B选项。
55. According to the text, the cost increase in the rail industry is mainly caused by ________.
[A] the continuing acquisition
[B] the growing traffic
[C] the cheering Wall Street
[D] the shrinking market