Posts Tagged ‘STB policies’

STB to Hold Conference on Policy Proposal

December 5, 2020

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board plans to conduct a virtual conference on Dec. 18 to address a new approach for considering class exemption and revocation issues.

In a news release, the STB said its proposed approach would “evaluate market conditions using a variety of metrics related to or indicative of rail transportation competition.”

That would include developing a snapshot of the commodities handled by rail, identifying changes in market conditions, and considering certain potential influences from alternative transportation modes that could affect rail shipping markets.

The proposal was developed by the agency’s Office of Economics following a public comment on since dropped rule proposal that would have affected such commodities as stone, cement, coke, and iron and steel products.

The STB has been collecting public comment on its latest proposal the approach since September.

STB noted that its approach has limitations and would not “necessarily provide a final conclusive answer on whether the commodity exemptions at issue should be revoked, or whether additional commodity exemptions should be adopted.”

Nor is the agency seeking “to answer the ultimate qualitative question of whether a commodity’s regulation is necessary to carry out rail transportation policy.

STB Finds 5 Class 1s Revenue Adequate

October 5, 2020

Five Class 1 railroads operating in the United States were revenue adequate in 2019 the U.S. Surface Transportation Board has determined.

The railroads included Norfolk Southern, CSX, BNSF, Canadian Pacific’s Soo Line Corporation and Union Pacific.

To be deemed revenue adequate a railroad must achieve a rate of return on net investment equal to at least the current cost of capital for the railroad industry in a given year.

The STB said that in 2019 the rate of return figure was 9.34 percent. It said all five Class 1 railroads it identified exceeded the agency’s calculation of the industry’s cost of capital.

In another development, the STB said it is seeking public comment on a proposed approach developed by its Office of Economics for use in considering class exemption and revocation issues.

The proposed approach would be used to help the STB evaluate market conditions using a variety of metrics related to rail competition.

In a news release, the agency said the proposal would serve as a way to evaluate market conditions governing a commodity, including changes in conditions over time.

 However, the STB said it would not serve as a mechanical test for determining whether the commodity exemptions at issue should be revoked or whether a new exemption should be issued.

Public comment is due by Dec. 4 and replies to initial comments are due by Jan. 4, 2021.

STB Issues Two Rulings in Passenger Cases

July 29, 2016

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board this week decided that it would consider on-time arrival and departure performance at all stations along a passenger train’s route for purposes of assessing overall on-time performance.

STBThe STB said in a news release that it deem a train to be “on time” if it arrives at or departs from a station no more than 15 minutes after its scheduled arrival or departure time.

In a related decision, the STB said it is withdrawing a proposed policy statement on issues that may arise and evidence to be presented in proceedings under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 in favor of a case-by-case approach.

“Reflecting careful consideration of an extensive public and stakeholder response to our most recent passenger rail proposals, these decisions will better position the Board to implement its responsibilities under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008,” said Board Chairman Daniel R. Elliott III in a statement. “Improved passenger train on-time performance is an important goal, and the Board’s decisions will support that goal by clarifying the trigger for starting a proceeding, while allowing more complex and detailed issues to be resolved in the context of individual cases.”