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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB hearing to determine if certain regulation exemptions remain 'good policy'


Yesterday, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) announced it will hold a public hearing on Dec. 9 in Washington, D.C., to review existing rail regulation exemptions for certain commodities, such as non-ferrous metals and frozen food products, as well as box-car and intermodal freight.

Beginning in 1979, STB predecessor the Interstate Commerce Commission removed federal protections requiring “reasonable service and rates” from certain freight classes, including several commodities, box-car movements and intermodal services.

In recent years, the board has received informal inquiries questioning the relevance and/or necessity of some of the existing commodity exemptions because of changes in the rail industry and competitive landscape that have occurred during the past few decades, STB members said in a hearing notice. The hearing will explore the “continuing utility of and the issues surrounding the categorical exemptions,” STB members said.

“At the time, most of those shippers supported the exemptions. But some of those same shippers now say that these exemptions have outlived their usefulness,” said STB Chairman Daniel Elliott III in a prepared statement. “This hearing is a good way to explore whether those exemptions still make good policy sense.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/22/2010