01/21/2016 17:37 EST | Updated 01/21/2017 00:12 EST

Union Pacific CEO reiterates opposition to railroad mergers

OMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific's top executive reiterated Thursday that he thinks railroad mergers are a bad idea and could lead to more regulations.

Union Pacific's Lance Fritz has been critical of Canadian Pacific's proposed acquisition of Norfolk Southern railroad since it was announced last fall.

Fritz says regulators may impose new requirements on all railroads as part of a merger review because the rules require mergers to enhance competition and benefit the public interest.

It's hard to predict what federal regulators will do because they haven't approved any major railroad mergers since tougher rules came out in 2001.

Norfolk Southern has consistently rejected Canadian Pacific's offers. The latest cash and stock offer was worth roughly $30 billion.

Fritz also said he doesn't think anything will come out of Canadian Pacific's request earlier this week for a government investigation into whether Fritz and other railroad executives violated antitrust rules by discussing the proposed merger. He said he doesn't think Union Pacific executives did anything wrong by talking informally with regulators and their peers from other railroads about the potential impact of the proposed merger.

Josh Funk, The Associated Press