What is the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2014, and why is it important to shippers? This bipartisan legislation was introduced on September 7, 2014 to improve the operation and effectiveness of the Surface Transportation Board. It asks to remove the STB from the Department of Transportation to establish it as an independent US agency.
If enacted, the bill would provide two new members which will enhance the decision-making process, as well as provide new investigative authority to make decisions about rail operations without requiring a formal complaint. This bill will not reregulate the rail industry, but provides a process to enable timelier decision making to help improve rail service. It proposes to allow limited board meetings without an initial public meeting notice (but later public disclosure); allows the board to initiate some investigations and not just respond to complaints; and requires the STB to maintain a database of complaints and prepare quarterly reports on them.
Says Ranking Member John Thune, “The modest bill that Chairman Rockefeller and I are introducing addresses many of the key inefficiencies and time delays I hear about from shippers by reforming the case review process.” This bill is supported by both the Consumers United for Rail Equity (CURE) and the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL).
Click here to review the bill.