Twenty-Five Years of Rail Banking: A Review and Look Ahead
The Surface Transportation Board will hold a public hearing beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 8, 2009, in the Hearing Room on the first floor of the Board's headquarters in Washington, DC. The purpose of the public hearing will be to examine the impact, effectiveness, and future of rail banking under Section 8(d) of the National Trails System Act. Persons wishing to speak at the hearing should notify the Board in writing.
BNSF Railway Company-Petition for Declaratory Order; BNSF Railway Company-Abandonment Exemption-in Oklahoma County, OK
The Surface Transportation Board (Board) hereby gives notice that, on its own motion, it granted BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) exemptions under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 10903 (filing and procedure for application to abandon or discontinue service), 49 U.S.C. 10904 (offers of financial assistance to avoid abandonment and discontinuance), and 49 U.S.C. 10905 (offering abandoned rail properties for sale for public purposes) for a segment of track on the Chickasha Line in Oklahoma City, OK, between milepost 541.69 and milepost 540.15 (the middle segment). The Board took this action in a decision served earlier in which it also found that a BNSF eastern segment project was a relocation that did not require prior agency authorization.
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 No. 92-463, as amended (5 U.S.C., App. 2).
United Van Lines, LCC-Pooling Agreement
United Van Lines, LLC (United), on behalf of itself and certain affiliated companies, filed an application with the Board under 49 U.S.C. 14302 for approval of revisions to its pooling agreement. The Board establishes a procedural schedule for the submission of public comments on the proposed revisions, principally the requirement that carrier agents may not transport under their own motor carrier authority any interstate shipments of household goods except, subject to United policies, shipments for the government. After reviewing any comments received, the Board will determine whether it has sufficient information to decide whether the proposed revisions meet the standard for approval under section 14302 or whether a hearing is necessary prior to such a determination.
Mayflower Transit, LCC-Pooling Agreement
Mayflower Transit, LLC (Mayflower), on behalf of itself and certain affiliated companies, filed an application with the Board under 49 U.S.C. 14302 for approval of revisions to its pooling agreement. The Board establishes a procedural schedule for the submission of public comments on the proposed revisions, principally the requirement that carrier agents may not transport under their own motor carrier authority any interstate shipments of household goods except, subject to Mayflower policies, shipments for the government. After reviewing any comments received, the Board will determine whether it has sufficient information to decide whether the proposed revisions meet the standard for approval under section 14302 or whether a hearing is necessary prior to such a determination.
Simplified Standards for Rail Rate Cases-Taxes in Revenue Shortfall Allocation Method
By a decision served on May 11, 2009, the Board adopted the evidence filed by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) calculating railroad-specific average state tax rates to be included in the Revenue Shortfall Allocation Method (RSAM) benchmarks for 2002 through 2007
Port of Moses Lake-Construction Exemption-Moses Lake, WA; Port of Moses Lake-Acquisition Exemption-Moses Lake, WA
By petition filed on August 28, 2008, the Port of Moses Lake (Port) seeks an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10901 to construct rail lines in Grant County, Washington. In the same petition, the Port also seeks an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10901 to acquire an existing segment of rail line from Columbia Basin Railroad Company, Inc. The proposed project, known as the Northern Columbia Basin Railroad Project, includes the construction of two new rail line segments and the acquisition and refurbishment of an existing rail segment to provide rail access to land designated and zoned for industrial uses along Wheeler Road (Road 3 NE) and at the Grant County International Airport. The entire proposed route would extend approximately 11.5 miles.
Regulations Governing Fees for Services Performed in Connection With Licensing and Related Services-2009 Update
The Board adopts its 2009 User-Fee Update and revises its fee schedule to reflect increased costs associated with the January 2009 government salary increases, changes to the Board's overhead costs, and to also reflect changes in the government fringe benefits.
Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Company―Acquisition and Operation Exemption-Union Pacific Railroad Company
Under 49 U.S.C. 10502, the Board is granting a petition for exemption from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10902 for the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Company (WSOR), a Class II rail carrier, to acquire and operate a permanent exclusive freight rail operating easement over approximately 10.95 miles of railroad known as the Kohler Industrial Lead that is currently owned by Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) and to acquire and operate approximately 1,000 feet of UP spur track, subject to labor protective conditions. The easement extends from a connection with WSOR's north-south Kiel-to- Saukville line at milepost 14.95 at Plymouth, WI, to milepost 4.0 near Kohler, WI. The UP spur track constitutes the lead to the site of the former Cargill Malt Plant at Kohler. This transaction is related to a concurrently filed verified notice of exemption in Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co.Trackage Rights ExemptionUnion Pacific Railroad Company, STB Finance Docket No. 35191. In that proceeding, WSOR seeks to acquire from UP and operate 2.8 miles of overhead trackage rights over a line of railroad extending between UP milepost 4.0 in Kohler and UP milepost 1.2 at Kohler Junction near Sheboygan, WI.\1\ This transaction is also related to a concurrently filed petition for declaratory order filed in Wisconsin Department of Transportation Petition for Declaratory OrderRail Line in Sheboygan County, WI, STB Finance Docket No. 35195. In that proceeding, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation seeks a finding that its acquisition of the right-of- way and railroad assets of the 10.95-mile rail line will not render it a rail common carrier. WSOR has requested expedited action in this proceeding.
Supplemental Report to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board on Capacity and Infrastructure Investment
The Surface Transportation Board seeks written public comments on the independent study prepared by Christensen Associates, Inc., entitled Supplemental Report to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board on Capacity and Infrastructure Investment, released on April 8, 2009 (Report). This report supplements an earlier report by Christensen Associates, released in November 2008, A Study of Competition in the U.S. Freight Railroad Industry and Analysis of Proposals That Might Enhance Competition.
Review of the Surface Transportation Board's General Costing System
The Surface Transportation Board will hold a public hearing beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 30, 2009, at its headquarters in Washington, DC. The purpose of the public hearing will be to examine issues related to the Board's Uniform Railroad Costing System (URCS). Persons wishing to speak at the hearing should notify the Board in writing.
Notice of National Grain Car Council Meeting
Notice is hereby given of a meeting of the National Grain Car Council (NGCC), pursuant to section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Public Law No. 92-463, as amended (5 U.S.C., App. 2).
Arizona Eastern Railway-Construction and Operation-Graham County, AZ
On August 4, 2006, the Arizona Eastern Railway (AZER) filed a petition with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) seeking an exemption under 49 United States Code (U.S.C.) 10502 from prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10901 for authority to construct and operate 12 miles of new rail line in Graham County, Arizona (AZ). The Board, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 10901, is the agency responsible for granting authority for the construction and operation of new rail line facilities. On February 25, 2008, the Board's Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) and the Federal Railroad Administration, a cooperating agency, issued an Environmental Assessment (EA) in this proceeding. The EA was made available to agencies, the public, and interested parties for a 36-day public comment period. The Board extended the comment period by another 30 days to May 1, 2008 in response to stakeholders' requests. SEA received 25 comments on the EA. The Post EA responds to those comments and makes final environmental recommendations to the Board.
Holland America Line Inc.-Acquisition-Royal Hyway Tours, Inc.
Holland America Line Inc. (Applicant), a noncarrier, has filed an application under 49 U.S.C. 14303 to acquire 100% control of the stock of Royal Hyway Tours, Inc. (RHT) (MC-143881), a motor passenger carrier (MC-182214). 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.
Quarterly Rail Cost Adjustment Factor
The Board has approved the second quarter 2009 rail cost adjustment factor (RCAF) and cost index filed by the Association of American Railroads. The second quarter 2009 RCAF (Unadjusted) is 0.850. The second quarter 2009 RCAF (Adjusted) is 0.387. The second quarter 2009 RCAF-5 is 0.367.
Railroad Cost Recovery Procedures-Productivity Adjustment
In a decision served on February 5, 2009, we proposed to adopt 1.012 (1.2% per year) as the measure of average change in railroad productivity for the 2003-2007 (5-year) averaging period. This value represented no change from the current measure of 1.2% that was developed for the 2002-2006 period. The decision stated that comments