United States Department of Energy and United States Department of Defense v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, et al. and Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad Company, et al.
The Surface Transportation Board (Board) approved the Settlement Agreement negotiated in these cases by the United States Departments of Energy and Defense (the Government) and by the Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP), prescribed the Agreement's rate and rate update methodologies as the maximum reasonable rate level, extinguished UP's liability for reparations, and agreed not to entertain cross- complaints against UP in subsequent proceedings involving the Government's claims for reparations against remaining railroad defendants that participated in through rates with UP. The Board declined in part to rule on, and granted in part, the Government's separate request for ground rules to govern future proceedings against remaining railroad defendants and granted the Government's request to continue holding these proceedings in abeyance subject to the Government reporting quarterly on the progress of settlement negotiations.
30-Day Notice of an Information Collection Under Review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Request for Comments: Application To Open an Account for Billing Purposes
The Surface Transportation Board (Board) gives notice that the Board has submitted to OMB a request for review and clearance of the Board's Application to Open an Account for Billing Purposes, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. (PRA). The Board previously published a notice about this collection in the Federal Register on May 17, 2005 at 70 FR 28354. That notice allowed for a 60- day public review and comment period on the proposed reinstatement without change of this previously approved information collection. No comments were received. The purpose of the current notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comment to satisfy the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3507(b). Comments are requested concerning (1) whether the particular collection of information described below is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Board, including whether the collection has practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the Board's burden estimates; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, when appropriate. Submitted comments will be considered by OMB prior to approval of the proposed collection. Overview of this information collection: Title: Application to Open an Account for Billing Purposes. OMB Control Number: 2104-0006. Form Number: STB Form 1032. Number of Respondents: 20. Affected Public: Rail carriers, shippers, and others doing business before the agency. Estimated Time Per Response: Less than .08 hours. This estimate is based on actual past survey information. Frequency of Response: The form will only have to be completed once by each account holder. Total Annual Burden Hours: Less than 1.6 hours. Total Annual ``Non-Hour Burden'' Cost: No ``non-hour cost'' burdens associated with this collection have been identified. Needs and Uses: The Board is, by statute, responsible for the economic regulation of surface transportation carriers operating in interstate commerce. This form is for use by applicants who wish to open an account with the Board to charge fees for records search, review, copying, certification of records, filing fees, and related services rendered. The account holder would be billed on a monthly basis for payment of accumulated fees. Data provided will also be used for debt collection activities. The form requests information as required by OMB and U.S. Department of Treasury regulations for the collection of fees. This information is not duplicated by any other agency. In accordance with the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a, all taxpayer identification and social security numbers will be secured and used only for credit management and debt collection activities. The information will be retained until the account holder indicates that he wishes to close the account and all debts are paid in full.
HolRail LLC-Construction and Operation Exemption-in Orangeburg and Dorchester Counties, SC
On November 13, 2003, HolRail LLC (HolRail) filed a petition with the Surface Transportation Board (the Board or STB) pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 10502 for authority to construct and operate a rail line in Orangeburg and Dorchester counties, South Carolina (SC). The proposed project would involve the construction and operation of approximately two miles of new rail line from the existing cement production factory owned by HolRail's parent company, Holcim (US) Inc. (Holcim), located near Holly Hill in Orangeburg County, to the terminus of an existing rail line of the Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NSR), located to the south near Giant in Dorchester County. Because the effects of the proposed project on the quality of the human environment are likely to be controversial, the Board's Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) has determined that the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is appropriate. The purpose of this Notice is to advise those individuals interested in or affected by the proposed project as well as agencies with special expertise or jurisdiction by law, of SEA's decision to prepare an EIS and to initiate the formal scoping process. This Notice also announces the availability of a draft Scope of Study and requests comments on the draft Scope of Study.
Senior Executive Service Performance Review Board
The Surface Transportation Board (STB) publishes the names of the persons selected to serve on its Senior Executive Service Performance Review Board (PRB).
Casino Transportation, Inc.-Acquisition of Control and Lease-Four Winds, Inc., d/b/a People's Choice Transportation, Inc.
Casino Transportation, Inc. (CTI), a federally regulated motor passenger carrier (MC-279356), has filed an application under 49 U.S.C. 14303 to purchase the stock of and lease the operating authorities of Four Winds, Inc., d/b/a People's Choice Transportation, Inc. (People's Choice), also a federally regulated motor passenger carrier (MC- 264768). Additionally, Craig Caldwell (Caldwell), Greg Waterman, and Robert Waterman (Watermans) seek authority to control both carriers and Joanne Lah (Lah) seeks limited control of certain elements of the operations of both carriers for a limited period of time. Persons wishing to oppose this application must follow the rules at 49 CFR 1182.5 and 1182.8. The Board has tentatively approved the transaction, and, if no opposing comments are timely filed, this notice will be the final Board action.
On June 30, 2005, the Board served a decision to update its computation of the railroad industry's cost-of-capital for 2004. The composite after-tax cost-of-capital rate for 2004 is found to be 10.1%, based on a current cost-of-debt of 5.25%; a cost of common equity capital of 13.16%; and a capital structure mix comprised of 38.5% debt and 61.5% common equity. The cost-of-capital finding made in this proceeding will be used in a variety of Board proceedings.
Quarterly Rail Cost Adjustment Factor
The Board has approved the third quarter 2005 rail cost adjustment factor (RCAF) and cost index filed by the Association of American Railroads. The third quarter 2005 RCAF (Unadjusted) is 1.136. The third quarter 2005 RCAF (Adjusted) is 0.552. The third quarter 2005 RCAF-5 is 0.528.