Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Fuchs’

Senate Confirms 2 STB Nominees

November 20, 2020

The U.S. Senate this week confirmed the appointments of Robert Primus and Michelle Schultz to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, which brings the agency to its full authorized number of members.

The fourth and fifth members of the STB are expected to assume their posts shortly.

The STB is authorized by the 2015 Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act to have five members.

Current STB Chairman Ann Begeman’s term expires on Dec. 31 but by law she may remain in holdover status for up to 12 months.

However, she must leave the board if the president appoints and the Senate confirms her successor during 2021.

Begeman is in her second term on the STB and is seen by some Washington observers as unlikely to be renamed to the board.

Primus, a Democrat, was named to replace Democrat Deb Miller for a seat whose term expires Dec. 31, 2022.

Schultz, a Republican, will fill one of two new seats created by the 2015 law that had yet to be filled. She will serve a five-year term.

The term of Republican STB member Patrick Fuchs expires on Jan. 17, 2024 while the term of  Democrat Martin Oberman expires on Dec. 31, 2023.

The STB is expected next year to take action on a number of moves that have become bogged down due to the board being at less than full membership.

These include the method by which revenue adequacy is determined, including whether historical or replacement costs are to be used in computing a railroad’s investment base, and the method for estimating the equity portion of the railroad industry’s cost of capital.  

Also on the docket are matter of whether and how revenue-adequate railroads should be constrained in raising rates and how to simplify and make less costly the determination of reasonable rates where railroads are market-dominant.

Railway Age reported that this issue might be solved through agreement with the railroads that would avoid a post-decision judicial challenge.

The Association of American Railroads is considering proposing some manner of non-precedent-setting arbitration to decide all but major rate cases.

Other matters up for discussion and resolution include setting criteria for, and means to, providing competitive access at sole-served rail facilities; whether to eliminate paper barriers in line sale and line lease agreements that restrict short line railroads from interchanging traffic with competitors of the Class I railroad that sold or leased them the trackage; an appropriate formula for recovery of increased fuel costs; and whether previous regulatory exemptions should be withdrawn, given changed circumstances.”

Oberman Appointed Vice Chair of STB

January 8, 2020

Martin Oberman has been appointed as vice chairman of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

He succeeds Patrick Fuchs, who will continues to serve as a board member.

Oberman joined the STB member on Jan. 22, 2019.

He formerly was a member of the governing board of commuter railroad Metra and served on the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s board.

Since 1975, Oberman has maintained practiced law in Chicago as a trial and an appellate lawyer. The STB vice chairmanship rotates among members on an annual basis.

STB Nominees Win Senate Committee OK

April 28, 2018

Two nominees for seats on the U.S. Surface Transportation Board were approved this week by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

The appointments of Patrick Fuchs and Michelle Schultz will now move to the full Senate for confirmation. If confirmed, each would serve a five year term on the STB.

Fuchs is a senior staff member working on surface transportation and maritime issues for the Senate Commerce Committee. He also has served as a policy analyst and Presidential Management Fellow at the Office of Management and Budget, where he managed railroad and maritime regulatory reviews.

Schultz is a deputy general counsel at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Before that, she was an associate with a Philadelphia law firm.

STB Nominees Seek to Be Neutral at Hearing

April 12, 2018

The two nominees for seats on the U.S. Surface Transportation Board appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee this week and sought to deflect pointed questions they were asked about STB policies.

Patrick J. Fuchs, a former Commerce Committee staff member, and Michelle A. Schultz, deputy general counsel for the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, are Republicans who recently were nominated to STB seats by the Trump administration .

Among the questions was one by Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) about Amtrak’s statutory right of preference over freight traffic.

“The law says Amtrak has preference over freight transportation using a rail line. You talked about statutory directives. Do you agree [preference] is a statutory directive?” Wicker asked. “In reality freight railroads have consistently denied such preference to Amtrak.”

Noting that a federal appellate court has struck down one effort to regulate on-time performance, Fuchs said, “Reasonable terms and conditions are case-specific, dependent on a particular route. “I would be hesitant to make a sweeping statement. I would evaluate any case that came before the board from a fair and open perspective.”

Both nominees in their prepared statements and in answers to questions sought to paint themselves as neutral and impartial.

“I believe both in the importance of the board’s responsibilities and in the power of market forces to achieve efficiencies and drive innovation and investment,” Fuchs said in his statement.

For her part, Shultz said that “because freight rail and intercity passenger rail serve an integral role in enhancing mobility within the United States, it is incumbent upon the Board to approach matters . . . in an impartial manner within the bounds of its jurisdiction and the law.”

2 Nominated for STB Seats

March 6, 2018

President Donald Trump has nominated Patrick Fuchs and Michelle Schultz to serve five-year terms on the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

Both are Republicans and their appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

If approved, they would bring the number of STB members to four with a fifth slot, which by law must be filled by a Democrat, still to be named.

Fuchs has worked on the staff the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

A White House news release said that he worked on the development and enactment of major railroad legislation, including the first re-authorization of the STB since its creation in 1996, as well as the first passenger rail re-authorization in more than seven years.

Fuchs also served as a policy analyst and Presidential Management Fellow at the Office of Management and Budget, where he managed railroad and maritime regulatory reviews.

Schultz is a deputy general counsel at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

Before joining the agency in 2006, she was an associate with a Philadelphia law firm, and clerked for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.