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STB schedules hearing on railroads' common carrier obligation

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) will hold a public hearing on April 24 at 9 a.m. in Washington, D.C., to review railroads' common carrier obligation.

The hearing will highlight the importance of and provide a better understanding of the obligation — railroads' duty to provide transportation or service upon a reasonable request — and help the board with its monitoring and compliance work, the STB said in a hearing announcement.

The hearing will focus on various topics, such as service limitations resulting from constrained capacity; cost and safety issues related to the transportation of hazardous materials, especially toxic inhalation hazards; carrier-imposed requirements for infrastructure investments by shippers; the impact of volume requirements or incentives; "economically motivated" service reductions and metering of service demand; the proper use of rail embargoes; when it's necessary to obtain abandonment authorization; and to whom the common carrier obligation applies.

Notices of intent to participate in the hearing are due to the board by March 25; speakers' written testimony and submissions from interested parties who won't appear at the hearing are due April 17.

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More News from 2/25/2008