Today, the House overwhelmingly passed Senate legislation that will modernize the nation’s freight rail policies and will provide American businesses with greater access to more reliable and competitive freight rail service by making the Surface Transportation Board (STB) work more efficiently.
We want to thank Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson for taking the lead in reforming the nation’s freight rail policies. And we applaud the House and Senate for agreeing to this balanced approach that will begin fixing the freight rail system.
Representing dozens of shippers, we shared our concerns with Congress over the last few years. Congress listened and, more importantly, Congress acted.
This legislation will help streamline the STB’s overly burdensome rate review process, providing reasonable arbitration procedures to resolve rate disputes, and allowing the STB to be more proactive in resolving freight rail issues. Furthermore, in light of the recent service breakdowns impacting rail customers nationwide, this legislation also emphasizes the existing responsibility of the railroad industry to dedicate revenue appropriately to meet current and future service needs.
The legislation is an important and landmark first step that will allow the STB to function more efficiently. With the ball now in their court, we hope the STB begins moving forward by enacting policies that will promote a more efficient and competitive freight rail system. Specifically, the STB has an opportunity to follow Congress’s lead by moving forward on proposals to increase rail-to-rail competition and improve the Board’s rate review process. We hope they build on today’s progress.
THE RAIL CUSTOMER COALITION
The coalition is a large collection of trade associations representing a broad cross section of manufacturing, agricultural, and energy industries with operations and employees throughout the United States, including: