Posts Tagged ‘STB rules and regulations’

CSX, CN Seek to Block New STB Rate Rule

January 11, 2023

CSX, Canadian National and Union Pacific have gone to court to try to block implementation of a U.S. Surface Transportation Board rule seeking to streamline the settlement of small rate disputes with shippers.

CSX filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit challenging an arbitration process that the STB plans to launch as part of the new rules, which the agency said are designed to make it easier, faster and less expensive for shippers to initiate cases seeking up to $4 million in relief over two years.

The rules were adopted in December as part of a new process called Final Offer Rate Review. The rule drew applause from shippers but was attacked by the Association of American Railroads as unworkable.

UP filed a similar lawsuit in the appeals court for the Eighth Circuit seeking to block the STB rule. CN’s challenge of the rule was filed in the Seventh Circuit appeals court by its U.S. subsidiaries, Illinois Central and Grand Trunk Western.

A sticking point in the small rate case rules is the arbitration component. STB wants all Class 1 railroads to agree to binding arbitration while the railroads have called for voluntary arbitration.

The AAR has argued that the Final Offer Rate Review process exceeds the agency’s legal regulatory authority.

AAR s position is that the effect of the new rule is that regulators will choose and impose the rate proposed by the shipper or the rate offered by the railroad.

The trade association also has been critical of the requirement that all Class 1 railroads must agree to participate.

The STB for its part has sought to frame the new rule as striking a balance between competing interests.

STB Proposes 2 Rules to Resolve Small Rate Disputes

November 18, 2021

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board had advanced new rules for resolving disputes over small rates.

The proposed rules would establish what the Board termed a rate reasonableness processes and establish a voluntary arbitration program for small rate disputes.

In a news release, the STB said the proposed rules continue the efforts of the Board’s Rate Reform Task Force to determine how best to provide a rate review process for small cases.

Public comment on the rules are due by Jan. 14, 2022, and reply comments by March 15, 2022.

Groups Private Car Rules Revised

July 29, 2021

Four groups that represent private freight car owners want the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to launch a rule making process to work toward updating the demurrage and accessorial rules governing the railroads’ use and handling of their equipment.

The petition to the STB asks regulators “to promulgate regulations governing the use by the nation’s Class I railroads of freight rail cars supplied to them by rail car owners, shippers, and other non-railroad entities. [A]n update to the rules governing the railroads’ use of private rail cars is long overdue because the railroad industry has evolved to the point that approximately 73 percent of the rail cars in service today nationwide – approximately 1.2 million rail cars—are no longer owned by railroads, but are . . . purchased, or leased, and maintained, by non-railroad entities at little or no cost to the railroads that use them.”

The groups involved are the North America Freight Car Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, the Chorine Institute and the National Oilseed Processors Association.

They say that current STB rules failed to adequately protect the enormous investment private rail car owners have made in their property because the rules fail to provide sufficient incentives for the Class I railroads to use private rail cars efficiently.

The petition said Class 1 railroads are using private cars in irregular service and holding on to them for too long.

AAR Rips Proposed STB Rate Review Rule

November 14, 2019

The Association of American Railroads has characters a proposed rate review rule being advanced by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board as unlawful.

The AAR wants the agency to withdraw the rule because it said it exceeds STB’s authority in determining rate reasonableness.

In a statement, AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ian Jefferies said the rule “abdicates the agency’s statutory responsibility to judge the reasonableness of rail rates and abandons careful deliberation vital to a balanced regulatory structure.”

AAR contends that the rule would establish a new rate review procedure that would deny shippers and railroads alike their right to a full hearing as required by law and represents a radical departure from the market-based, economic principles that have traditionally guided the Board’s maximum rate determinations.

STB Proposes New Rate Review Rules

September 14, 2019

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board this week has proposed a new set of rules that would govern rate review procedures.

The proposed rules would establish a new rate review option for smaller cases, the final offer rate review, which would use procedural limitations to contain the costs and complexities of a rate case.

The board also has proposed a streamlined market dominance process that could be used in any rate review proceeding.

In a news release, the STB said these changes are designed to make the procedures “more accessible, efficient, and transparent, including for small customers.”

Public comments on the proposed rule changes are due by Nov. 12, and replies are due by Jan. 10, 2020.

The rule changes stem from a Rate Reform Task Force that issued recommendations in April.

The task force raised questions about the STB’s revenue adequacy process that will be addressed at a Dec. 12 hearing.

Among other recommendations, the task force suggested the board establish a definition of long-term revenue adequacy and consider providing different remedies for rate cases involving carriers that are long-term revenue adequate.

Railroads will be given the opportunity to testify during that hearing on the position of the Association of American Railroads that revenue adequacy reflects the industry’s financial soundness and stability under the current regulatory scheme and must not be a trigger for new government intervention and rate regulation.

STB to Review its Regulations

May 1, 2017

The Surface Transportation Board has designated Rachel Campbell, now the director of the office of proceedings, to be its regulatory reform officer.

In a news release, the STB said that Campbell will lead the efforts to identify rules and practices that are burdensome, unnecessary or outdated, and recommend how they should be modified.

The Board said it was acting in the wake of an executive order by President Donald Trump’s executive that seeks to reduce government regulation.