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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

AAR appeals STB's on-time performance ruling


The Association of American Railroads (AAR) on Wednesday petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review a recent Surface Transportation Board (STB) final rule that defines on-time performance.

In its court filing, the AAR maintains that Congress gave the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak — not the STB — the authority to define on-time performance. Therefore, the STB's ruling should be overturned, AAR argues.

In late July, the STB ruled that it would consider on-time arrival and departure at all stations along a passenger-train's route for the purpose of determining on-time performance. At the same time in a separate ruling, the STB determined that it was dropping its proposal that would have allowed railroads to prioritize freight trains over passenger trains.

Both STB rulings pertain to oversight of Amtrak operations.

Regarding the on-time performance rule, the AAR said at the time that it was disappointed the STB "has decided to add mid-point on-time performance measures, which could result in negative impacts for freight rail customers and consumers."

In its appeal of the STB's decision, the AAR is not challenging the rule that gives preference to passenger trains on freight-rail lines, said AAR spokesman Ed Greenberg in an email.

"Freight railroads take contractual obligations seriously and comply with the law in giving Amtrak preference," said Greenberg. "That has never been contested by freight railroads."


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