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The Surface Transportation Board (STB) yesterday announced it adopted final rules establishing disclosure requirements for transactions involving interchange agreements.Contractual provisions included in a rail line lease or sale, interchange agreements limit the incentive or ability of a tenant or purchaser railroad to interchange traffic with a railroad other than the leasing or selling railroad.Under the STB's former rules, if a proposed rail line acquisition involved an interchange agreement, the proponent had to inform the board about the pact and file a complete, confidential version of it with the STB.Now under the adopted final rules, parties must file the following with the board: information concerning shippers, carloads and potential interchanging railroads on the affected line; a verification that shippers on the line have been notified; an estimate of the lease- or sale-price differential with and without an interchange agreement; and a case caption that indicates an interchange commitment.The purpose of the rulemaking is to help the board and affected parties determine at the outset whether a transaction that includes an interchange agreement is appropriate for the board's exemption process or raises competitive issues that require a more detailed examination, STB members said in their decision.
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