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The Surface Transportation Board (STB) yesterday made public a report highlighting its internal rate-case processing procedures. STB Chairman Daniel Elliott III convened a study team of members of each of the STB's three offices — Economics, Proceedings and General Counsel — to examine ways the board can improve efficiency in evaluating rate reasonableness for rail shippers. Posted on the STB website, the report analyzes the agency's internal procedures at the time of the study, and provides recommendations on how to improve the quality of the board's internal processes. The report includes immediate implementation recommendations, such as holding early technical conferences; near-term recommendations to be considered over three to 12 months, such as formalizing the priority of the many "calls" that must be made in rate cases; and longer-term recommendations, such as formalizing the rate case staff training program.Agency officials expect to release "in the near term" the board's stand-alone cost (SAC) processing guidelines that will implement many of the recommendations, according to an STB press release.