eNews • December 4, 2015
Promoting a Cost-Effective, Reliable and Competitive Transportation System

House approves STB reauthorization bill

The U.S. House on December 10th unanimously approved the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015 (S. 808), a bipartisan bill that proposes to reauthorize and reform the STB. The bill, which the Senate passed earlier this year, now goes to President Obama for his signature.

The bill represents the first reauthorization of the STB and update of rail economic regulation in 20 years. The measure proposes to remove the STB from the U.S. Department of Transportation - establishing the board as an independent agency - and increase the number of STB commissioners from three to five.

The bill makes "common sense improvements" to the agency's efficiency, processes and decision-making, said House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) in a press release.

Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger said the legislation "strikes the right balance of preserving a market-based structure for shippers and railroads, while also providing commonsense process improvements that will allow the STB to work more efficiently."

In reauthorizing the board, Congress recognized the critical need for railroads to be able to earn revenue to invest in the nation's 140,000-mile, privately owned rail network, he said in a press release. Since 1980, the freight-rail industry has spent more than $600 billion on private infrastructure and equipment, according to the AAR.

"The industry invests revenue it earns, not government funding, to grow the nation's rail system and respond to the shipping needs of customers, large and small," said Hamberger. "Congress has reaffirmed balanced economic regulations that allow market-based competition to establish rate and service standards, with a regulatory safety net available to rail customers."

Source: Progressive Railroading


The Soy Transportation Coalition is comprised of thirteen state soybean boards, the American Soybean Association, and the United Soybean Board. The National Grain and Feed Association and the National Oilseed Processors Association serve as ex-officio members of the organization.

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