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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Bush calls on Cumber for STB seat; CURE opposes nomination


Last week, President Bush announced his intention to nominate Husein Cumber as a Surface Transportation Board commissioner for a five-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2009.

Cumber currently is deputy chief of staff of the U.S. Department of Transportation. He previously served as assistant to the secretary for policy at the USDOT and vice president of public affairs for Florida East Coast Industries Inc., which, at the time, owned Florida East Coast Railway.

However, rail shipper coalition Consumers United for Rail Equity (CURE) opposes Cumber's nomination because he lacks regulatory experience and the board needs a "rail customer advocate," said CURE Executive Director Bob Szabo in a prepared statement.
"Mr. Cumber is no doubt a fine individual, but he lacks the necessary regulatory and economic experience to properly oversee the rail industry," he said. "The STB already has a long history of one-sided decisions in favor of the railroads [and] it's time for the appointment of someone who understands the challenges and struggles faced by rail customers."

The three-member STB is chaired by Charles Nottingham, whose term expires on Dec. 31, 2010. Commissioner Douglas Buttrey's term expires Dec. 31, 2008, and Commissioner Francis Mulvey's term expires Dec. 31, 2012.