Methodology to be Employed in Determining the Railroad Industry's Cost of Capital
The Surface Transportation Board will hold a public hearing beginning at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, December 4, 2007, at its offices in Washington, DC. The purpose of the hearing will be to allow current parties of record to comment on the proposed methodology to be employed in determining the railroad industry's estimated cost of capital and the record developed in this proceeding. Parties of record wishing to speak at the hearing should notify the Board in writing.
Rail Fuel Surcharges
Pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et. seq. (PRA) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations at 5 CFR 1320.11, the Surface Transportation Board has obtained OMB approval for the collection of information adopted by the Board in Rail Fuel Surcharges, STB Ex Parte No. 661 (Sub-No. 1) (STB served Aug. 14, 2007). This collection, which is codified at 49 CFR 1243.3, has been assigned OMB Control No. 2140-0014. Unless renewed, OMB approval expires on October 31, 2010. The display of a currently valid OMB control number for this collection is required by law. Under the PRA and 5 CFR 1320.8, an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless the collection displays a currently valid OMB control number.
Southwest Gulf Railroad-Construction and Operation Exemption-In Medina County, Texas
The Surface Transportation Board's (STB or Board) Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) is making available to the public, the official ``Section 106'' consulting parties, Indian tribes, and Federal, State, and local agencies, a Draft Programmatic Agreement (PA) for review and comment in the rail line construction and operation proposal described below. The Draft PA addresses historic preservation and cultural resource issues and is being developed to satisfy the requirements of section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (16 U.S.C. 470f) and the regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation at 36 CFR 800.14 (b). Comments on the PA must be post-marked to the address below by November 19, 2007. To be considered, comments must focus on the contents of the PA. Comments addressing matters outside the PA or post-marked after the due date will not be considered. On February 27, 2003, the Southwest Gulf Railroad (SGR) filed a petition with the STB seeking the Board's authorization to construct and operate a new rail line in Medina County, Texas (Finance Docket No. 34284). SGR's proposal involves the construction and operation of a rail line approximately seven miles long from a Vulcan Construction Materials, LP (VCM) proposed limestone quarry to the Union Pacific (UP) rail line near Dunlay, Texas. The Board issued a decision on May 19, 2003, finding that, from a transportation perspective, the proposed construction and operation met the standards of 49 U.S.C. 10502. SEA issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for public review and comment in this proceeding in 2004. The DEIS assessed four potential rail routes for SGR's proposed rail line to the VCM proposed quarry, as well as the No-Action Alternative (the use of trucks to transport the limestone to the UP rail line if SGR's rail line were not built). Based on the comments received on the DEIS, SEA decided to prepare a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for public review and comment. SEA issued the SDEIS on December 8, 2006. The SDEIS included additional historic property evaluation and analyzed three additional rail routes to the east of the routes originally considered. The SDEIS preliminarily concluded that two of these eastern routes would be environmentally preferable to the routes previously studied in the DEIS because they would avoid or minimize impacts to rural historic landscapes in the project area discovered during the course of the environmental review. The comment period on the SDEIS closed on January 29, 2007. SEA is currently reviewing the comments received and preparing a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) that responds to the comments received on the DEIS and SDEIS. Once SEA issues the FEIS, the environmental review process will be concluded, and the Board will issue a final decision on SGR's proposal. Before issuing the FEIS, SEA will first complete the ``Section 106 process'' of the NHPA, which requires Federal agencies to consider the effects of their licensing actions on historic sites and structures. An executed PA is evidence of the agencies compliance with section 106. The Draft PA is available for review on the Board's Web site at http://www.stb.dot.gov by clicking on the ``Environmental Matters'' link, then ``Key Cases'' then the ``Medina County, Texas'' link. Please refer to Finance Docket No. 34284 in all correspondence, including any e-filings.
Notice of Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee Meeting
Notice is hereby given of a meeting of the Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee (RETAC), pursuant to section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Public Law 92-463, as amended (5 U.S.C., App. 2).
Finger Lakes Railway Corp.-Control Exemption-Ontario Central Railroad Corp.; Notice of Exemption
The Board grants an exemption, under 49 U.S.C. 10502, from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 11323, et seq., for Finger Lakes Railway Corp. (FGLK), a Class III rail carrier, to acquire control by purchase of 81.05% of the issued and outstanding stock of Ontario Central Railroad Corp. (ONCT) from Livonia, Avon & Lakeville Railroad Corp. The rail line consists of 14 miles of the rail line in New York.
Notice and Request for Comments
As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. (PRA), the Surface Transportation Board (Board) gives notice that it has submitted a request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval of the currently existing collection of Waybill Sample data, which is described in detail below. The Board previously published a notice about these collections in the Federal Register on May 21, 2007, at 72 FR 28549. That notice allowed for a 60- day public review and comment period. No comments were received. Comments may now be submitted to OMB concerning (1) the accuracy of the Board's burden estimates; (2) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; (3) 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; and (4) whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Board, including whether the collection has practical utility.
Quarterly Rail Cost Adjustment Factor
The Board has approved the fourth quarter 2007 rail cost adjustment factor (RCAF) and cost index filed by the Association of American Railroads. The fourth quarter 2007 RCAF (Unadjusted) is 1.280. The fourth quarter 2007 RCAF (Adjusted) is 0.595. The fourth quarter 2007 RCAF-5 is 0.565.