New STB Chairman Sworn Into Office

August 14, 2009 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — Daniel R. Elliott III was sworn in Aug. 13 as the Board’s chairman, pledging to bring an open mind and sense of fairness to the Board’s economic regulation of railroads. Elliott, 46, served for 16 years as associate general counsel to the United Transportation Union. Earlier, he practiced at law firms in Washington and Cleveland. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in political science in 1985 and earned a law degree from Ohio State College of Law in 1989. He was nominated to the Board by President Barack Obama on June 20, 2009 for

STB Orders Rate Relief for Oklahoma Utility Plant

WASHINGTON — The Surface Transportation Board issued a decision today granting an estimated $100 million in reparations and rate reductions over the next decade from Union Pacific Railroad to Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company (OG&E). The utility serves more than 750,000 customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas. UP has hauled roughly 6 million tons of coal per year from Wyoming’s southern Powder River Basin to OG&E’s Muskogee Station power plant in Fort Gibson, Okla. under contracts between the parties. But after the latest contract expired on Dec. 31, 2008, UP and OG&E could not agree on a new contractual rate.

STB to Hold Hearing on ‘Rail Banking’

WASHINGTON — The Surface Transportation Board announced it will hold a public hearing July 8 to examine the impact, effectiveness, and future of rail banking under the National Trails System Act (Trails Act). Rail banking is the preservation of railroad corridors for possible future rail use.  In 1983, Congress amended the Trails Act to create a program to allow rail banking to permit rail corridors that otherwise would be abandoned to be used as recreational trails on an interim basis. Such trails are subject to restoration as rail corridors at any point in time. The Trails Act and the Board’s

STB’s Section of Environmental Analysis Issues Final Environmental Assessment

WASHINGTON — The Surface Transportation Board announced that its Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) have issued a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed Northern Columbia Basin Railroad Project (Project), an approximately 11.5-mile long railroad route that would be acquired and constructed in Grant County, Wash. The Project would provide rail service to an area designated for industrial development and attract to this area new businesses that would use rail transportation. The issuance of the Final EA completes the environmental review undertaken by SEA and WSDOT. The Final EA responds to comments

STB Adopts 2009 User Fee Update Schedule

WASHINGTON — The Surface Transportation Board has adopted its 2009 User Fee Update Schedule setting forth updated fees for each of the types of proceedings that can be filed with the agency. The changes in the 2009 Update — to become effective June 4 — primarily are designed to offset increased Board expenses, including increased overhead costs. The 2009 Update complies with the Congressional directive that the Board assess fees to cover a portion of its budget. It also complies with the statutory requirement that the agency conduct a proceeding annually to update its user fee schedule to reflect the

STB: Nottingham Appoints Zimmerman as Chief of Staff

April 16, 2009 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — Surface Transportation Board Vice Chairman Charles D. Nottingham announced his appointment of Scott M. Zimmerman as his chief of staff. Beginning in January 2007, Zimmerman served as former Chairman Nottingham’s attorney-advisor. Prior to that, he served in the Board’s Office of the General Counsel. Before joining the agency, Zimmerman practiced transportation and regulatory law as a partner at the law firm of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger, L.L.P. in Washington, D.C. Zimmerman holds a B.A. in Government from Cornell University (1985) and J.D. from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at The College of William & Mary (1992), where he

STB: CN Files First Compliance Reports

April 13, 2009 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — The Surface Transportation Board said that Canadian National Railway Company has filed its first compliance reports pursuant to the Board’s oversight of CN’s acquisition of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Company in Canadian National Railway and Grand Trunk Corp. — Control — EJ&E West Co. The Board approved the acquisition on Dec. 24, 2008, subject to environmental mitigation and other reporting conditions, which require CN to submit monthly operational reports and quarterly environmental reports to the Board during a five year oversight period. CN’s monthly operating report includes data detailing train volumes, accidents and incidents, and street

STB Releases Report on Capacity and Infrastructure Investment

WASHINGTON — The Surface Transportation Board announced that Christensen Associates, a Madison, Wisc.-based economic consulting firm, has completed a supplemental report to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board on Capacity and Infrastructure Investment. The report augments the findings of Christensen Associates’ November 2008 independent study entitled A Study of Competition in the U.S. Freight Railroad Industry and Analysis of Proposals that Might Enhance Competition. The Report looks at different measures of railroad capacity and analyzes how that capacity is affected by anticipated changes in the demand for rail services and the productivity of rail assets.  As with Christensen Associates’ 2008 Study,

STB Vice Chair, Rail Marketing Chiefs are 2009 NARS Meeting Attractions

CHICAGO — Surface Transportation Board vice Chairman Charles D. Nottingham and a panel of railroad marketing chiefs will highlight the 2009 North American Rail Shippers meeting. The meeting will be held May 26-28 at the Downtown Marriott Hotel in Chicago. James R. Young, chairman of the Association of American Railroads and chairman, president and CEO of the Union Pacific, will offer his perspectives about the railroad industry. “The annual NARS meeting — ‘On Track for the Future’ — is an excellent opportunity to hear the top marketing officers from all eight major North American railroads,” said NARS Executive Director Leo

STB to Examine Uniform Railroad Costing System

WASHINGTON — The Surface Transportation Board announced today that it will hold a public hearing April 30 to examine issues related to the Uniform Railroad Costing System (URCS) used by the Board to determine a railroad’s variable costs in a variety of regulatory proceedings. URCS calculates system-average variable costs for each Class I railroad based on information annually reported to the Board. The Board believes it is time for a review of URCS to determine whether, and to what extent, modifications are needed to account for recent changes in agency procedures, to improve system outputs, and to further the national

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