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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB considers seven cases at open voting conference

Last week, the Surface Transportation Board held another open voting conference in Washington, D.C.

Among seven cases considered, board members unanimously determined that:
Burlington Northern Santa Fe's storage and diversion charges on certain private cars do not violate an agreement between the railroad industry and private car owners that was approved by STB predecessor the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1978;
• the City of Lincoln, Neb.'s plan to take ownership of a 20-foot-wide strip of railroad right-of-way under state eminent domain law is federally preempted;
• the Boston Railway Terminal Co. is not a railroad and therefore is subject to state and local laws and regulations when conducting certain activities on land owned by a railroad; and
• no Class I earned the industry's 9.4 percent cost of capital in 2003, meaning no railroad was "revenue adequate" last year.

Members also unanimously denied a request to extend a financial assistance offer period for a rail line in New York City and a request by Pulaski County, Ind., to require a railroad or trail sponsor to post a performance bond or escrow funds for potential removal or cleanup costs tied to rail property that will be used as a trail.

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More News from 8/17/2004