Posts Tagged ‘STB small rates rules’

Carries Continue to Dispute STB Small Rates Rule

February 7, 2023

Four Class 1 railroads are continuing their efforts to get the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to modify the terms of an arbitration program regulators established to settle small rate cases.

CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and the U.S. companies owned by Canadian National asked the STB to allow a carrier to file its opt-in notice of the program at any time.

The arbitration program being established by the STB requires all Class 1 carriers to agree to participate or the program won’t be in effect.

Regulators have given the carriers until Feb. 23 to agree or disagree to join. The carriers have been calling for additional time before they must make their decision.

The same carriers had last December asked the STB to stay implementation of the arbitration program but regulators rejected that request without prejudice on Jan. 24.

The STB established two rules regarding small rate cases in a rule making proceeding that was finished late last year.

Aside from the arbitration program, the STB established a final offer rate review mechanism for settling small rate disputes.

At the time the STB called the new rules an effort to streamline the process for shippers and railroads to resolve small rate disputes.

If all seven Class 1 railroads agree to join the arbitration program they will be exempt from the final offer rate review process for five years.

The carriers petitioning the STB in the latest filing contend the STB’s decision to set an opt-in deadline is unlawful because it fails “to give notice of its intent to impose this draconian measure; departed from contrary agency precedent without explanation; failed to provide legally sufficient justification for its action; and contradicted its own reasoning in the Final Rule that carriers needed to know the contents of the arbitration program before making a five-year commitment to it.”