This week, ISRI will join with several dozen trade organizations and companies urging the Trump Administration to nominate commissioners to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and conclude several rulemakings.
Currently, the STB does not have enough members to have a quorum. It also has an acting chair – Ann Begeman. Without a quorum and a confirmed chair, the STB is basically treading water with little authority to complete regulations, investigate complaints, or approve mergers, rail abandonments, and other functions.
In the last Congress, long-awaited reform legislation was finally passed and signed into law that expanded the STB’s members and the public assistance office and provided additional remedy options to rail shippers. Following the passage of the STB reform and reauthorization law, the STB quickly moved several regulatory rulemakings to improve rail services, reduce several regulatory barriers, make it easier for small shippers to get relief, and revoke rail exemptions for certain commodities such as ferrous steel scrap. (ISRI filed comments to revoke these rail exemptions). However, the Trump Administration immediately froze all regulatory proceedings when it came into office on January 20.
The joint letter ISRI signed on to this week asks that the full complement of board commissions be nominated as soon as possible as well as to nominate Ann Begeman to become the chair. The nomination and confirmation process will still take several months to complete, further holding up these important rail reforms. This is why we are strongly urging Congress and the Administration to quickly take action. For more information on the Surface Transportation Board or this letter, please contact Billy Johnson.