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The Surface Transportation Board (STB) yesterday announced its Rate Reform Task Force will begin holding informal meetings with stakeholders next month to discuss ways to reform the board’s rate review methodologies.The STB has been exploring ideas to streamline its stand-alone cost rate review methodology. The board previously issued a notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comments on new procedures for a rate reasonableness methodology involving small disputes that would be more affordable and accessible to all shippers.Established in January, the Rate Reform Task Force is building on those efforts by developing recommendations to reform and streamline the board’s rate methodology for large cases, and determining how to best provide a rate review process for smaller rate cases, STB officials said in a press release. Holding informal meetings with stakeholders, practitioners and consultants on those topics — either in person or through teleconferencing — “will be an invaluable tool in assisting the task force,” they said.In addition to informal meetings held by phone or at the STB’s Washington, D.C. headquarters beginning next month, task force members will be available for informal meetings May 16-18 at the North American Rail Shippers Association's annual meeting in Chicago.