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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

STB to analyze BNSF purchase price's effects on costing system


Yesterday, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) instituted a public proceeding to examine the regulatory effects of the price Berkshire Hathaway Inc. paid when it acquired BNSF Railway Co. early last year.

In May, the Western Coal Traffic League (WCTL) petitioned the STB to adjust its costing system as a result of the BNSF purchase price, which totals an aggregate $34.5 billion, WCTL claims. The price’s impact on the costing system “will have significant detrimental effects on BNSF shippers,” WCTL officials assert in the petition, which BNSF opposes.

“While this proceeding is under way, the board will continue using the purchase price at issue in its costing and revenue adequacy calculations. If the board later determines that different calculations are in order, it will consider any necessary recalculations or revisions at that time,” STB members said in a prepared statement.

The formal proceeding will enable stakeholders and the public to provide their perspectives to the board, said STB Chairman Daniel Elliott III.

“This complex issue should be examined in a transparent way, with the inclusion of as many views and voices as possible,” he said.

According to a proceeding schedule proposed by WCTL and agreed to by BNSF, opening evidence and arguments are due Oct. 28; reply evidence and arguments are due Nov. 28; and rebuttal evidence and arguments are due Dec. 12.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/29/2011