The Surface Transportation Board said it has moved to significantly reduce filing fees for shipper complaints to $350. Currently, shippers are charged as much as $20,600 to file a complaint.
The proposed rulemaking, approved by the STB, would implement a new fee schedule that would charge shippers $350 to file a rate or unreasonable practice complaint. The fee to file an expedited small rate case would remain $150.
“Charging a small business more than $20,000 to bring a complaint is not right,’’ said STB Chairman Daniel R. Elliott III. “I am afraid that some meritorious cases were discouraged by the high filing fees.”
Elliott said that while the new fee structure would make it easier to file formal cases at the STB, he hopes that shippers would first avail themselves of the agency’s free informal mediation service, called the Rail Customer and Public Assistance Program. The Board also offers a successful program of formal mediation as well.