STB Denies Bid to Delay Arbitration Rulemaking

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board said this week it will continue a proceeding focused on using voluntary arbitration to resolve small rate cases.

The decision was made in denying a request from various shipper trade groups to delay the rule-making process in the case.

The shipper groups sought to delay the rule-making process until Class 1 railroads “state whether they would participate in the proposed program if arbitrators are permitted to consider revenue adequacy, as has been proposed by the Board.”

The STB said what the shippers are seeking is premature because it seeks to require rail carriers to pledge to participate in the proposed arbitration program based solely on the single issue of revenue adequacy before the record has been fully developed.

The rulemaking process regarding voluntary arbitration was launched in 2020 upon the request of five Class 1 railroads: Canadian National, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific.

The shippers groups seeking to delay the rule-making process included the American Chemistry Council, Corn Refiners Association, National Industrial Transportation League, The Chlorine Institute, and The Fertilizer Institute.

The STB said it will continue seeking public comment on the proposed rule through Jan. 14, 2022. It expects railroads to state their position on the revenue adequacy issue in their comments to the Board.

Reply comments will be accepted through April 15, 2022, while ex parte communications regarding the proposed rule will be are allowed until March 28, 2022.

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