Notice and Request for Comments
As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3519 (PRA), the Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) gives notice that it has submitted a request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for an extension of approval with revision of a currently approved collection: Application to Open a Billing Account. The revision consists of a reduction in burden hours due to the agency's revised estimate of the number of annual respondents. The Board previously published a notice about this collection in the Federal Register on September 30, 2011, at 76 FR 60,964. That notice allowed for a 60-day public review and comment period. No comments were received. The application to open a billing account is described in detail below. 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.
Union Pacific Railroad Company-Petition for Declaratory Order
In response to a petition filed by Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) on April 27, 2011, the Board is instituting a declaratory order proceeding under 49 U.S.C. 721 and 5 U.S.C. 554(e). UP requests that the Board issue a declaratory order to resolve a controversy regarding the reasonableness of the indemnification provisions in UP's tariff relating to transportation of toxic by inhalation hazardous commodities (TIH). The Board seeks public comment on the issues raised in this case.
Student Transportation of America, Inc.-Control-Dairyland Buses, Inc.
Student Transportation of America, Inc., a motor carrier of passengers (Student Transportation), has filed an application under 49 U.S.C. 14303 for its acquisition of control of Dairyland Buses, Inc., also a motor carrier of passengers (Dairyland). The Board is tentatively approving and authorizing the transaction, and, if no opposing comments are timely filed, this notice will be the final Board action. Persons wishing to oppose the application must follow the rules under 49 CFR 1182.5 and 1182.8.
Information Collection Activities
As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3519 (PRA), the Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) gives notice of its intent to seek from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of the information collections required from those seeking licensing authority under 49 U.S.C. 10901-03 and consolidation authority under 11323-26. Under these Title 49 provisions, rail carriers and non-carriers are required to file an application with the Board, or seek an exemption (through petition or notice) from the full application process under Sec. 10502, before they may construct, acquire, or operate a line of railroad; abandon or discontinue operations over a line of railroad; or consolidate their interests through a merger or common-control arrangement. The relevant information collections are described in more detail below. Comments are requested 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 the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Board, including whether the collection has practical utility. Submitted comments will be summarized and included in the Board's request for OMB approval.
Notice of Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee Vacancy
The Surface Transportation Board (Board), hereby gives notice of a vacancy on the Board's Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee for a representative of a state- or municipally-owned electric utility. The Board is soliciting suggestions for candidates to fill that vacancy.
Alaska Railroad Corporation-Construction and Operation Exemption-A Rail Line Extension to Port MacKenzie, AK
The Board is granting an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10901 for Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) to construct and operate an approximately 35-mile rail line connecting the Port MacKenzie District in south-central Alaska to a point on ARRC's existing main line near Houston, Alaska. The rail line would provide freight services between Port MacKenzie and the interior of Alaska and would support Port MacKenzie's continuing development as an intermodal and bulk material resources export and import facility. This exemption is subject to environmental mitigation conditions and the condition that ARRC build the route designated as environmentally preferable.
Policy Statement on Grant Stamp Procedure in Routine Director Orders
The Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) is issuing this policy statement to inform the public that, beginning on December 15, 2011, the Board will implement a grant stamp procedure for certain decisions issued by the Director of the Office of Proceedings (Director). The grant stamp will be used for decisions in uncontested, routine procedural matters delegated to the Director when no further explanation or discussion is necessary. This procedure is designed to better serve the public, to streamline Board processes, and to remove uncertainty.
Grenada Railway LLC-Abandonment Exemption-in Grenada, Montgomery, Carroll, Holmes, Yazoo and Madison Counties, MS.
Staff members of the Surface Transportation Board will hold a public meeting concerning the abandonment petition for exemption in the above-titled docket. The purpose of the meeting is to allow interested persons to comment on the petition for exemption.
Railroad Revenue Adequacy-2010 Determination
On November 3, 2011, the Board served a decision announcing the 2010 revenue adequacy determinations for the Nation's Class I railroads. One carrier, Union Pacific Railroad Company, was found to be revenue adequate.
Notice of Final Action Under Paperwork Reduction Act
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 1320.10, the Surface Transportation Board has obtained an extension of OMB's approval for the information collection, required under 49 CFR 1114.30(d), 1121.3(d), 1150.33(h), 1150.43(h), and 1180.4(g)(4), of certain agreements that contains rail interchange commitments (OMB Control Number 2140-0016). Unless renewed, OMB approval expires on August 31, 2014. 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.
National Express Acquisition Corporation-Control-Petermann Partners, Inc.
National Express Acquisition Corporation (NEAC) and National Express Corporation (NEC), both noncarriers, have filed an application under 49 U.S.C. 14303 for NEAC's acquisition of control of Petermann Partners, Inc. (PPI), a noncarrier, and the passenger motor carriers PPI controls: Beck Bus Transportation Corp. (MC-143528); Petermann Northeast, LLC (MC-723926); Petermann Northwest, LLC (MC-638608); Petermann Southwest, LLC (MC-644996); Petermann STSA, LLC (which has filed for registration in FMCSA Docket No. MC-749360); MV Student Transportation, Inc. (MC-148934); Carrier Management, Inc. (no MC number); and Petermann Ltd. (MC-364668) (collectively, Petermann Carriers). The Board has tentatively approved and authorized the transaction, and, if no opposing comments are timely filed, this notice will be the final Board action. Persons wishing to oppose the application must follow the rules under 49 CFR 1182.5 and 1182.8.
DesertXpress Enterprises, LLC and DesertXpress HSR Corporation-Construction and Operation Exemption-in Victorville, CA and Las Vegas, NV
The Board grants an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10901 for DesertXpress Enterprises, LLC and its subsidiary (DXE) to build and operate a 190- mile rail line between Victorville, Cal. and Las Vegas, Nev., in order to provide high-speed passenger rail service. This exemption is subject to environmental mitigation conditions and the condition that DXE build the route designated as environmentally preferable.
Illinois Central Railroad Company-Discontinuance of Trackage Rights Exemption-in Madison, Yazoo, Holmes, Carroll, Montgomery, Grenada, Yalobusha, Tallahatchie, Panola, Tate, and Desoto Counties, MS
Notice of Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council Vacancy
The Board hereby gives notice of 7 vacancies on RSTAC for: (1) Representatives of 3 small shippers; (2) representatives of 2 Class I railroads; (3) a representative of a large shipper; and (4) a representative of a Class II or III railroad. The Board is soliciting suggestions for candidates to fill these vacancies.
Reporting Requirements for Positive Train Control Expenses and Investments
The Board proposes to amend its rules to require rail carriers that submit to the Board ``R-1'' reports that identify information on capital and operating expenditures for Positive Train Control (PTC) to break out those expenses so that they can be viewed both as component parts of and separately from other capital investments and expenses. PTC is an automated system designed to prevent train-to-train collisions and other accidents. Rail carriers with traffic routes that carry passengers and/or hazardous toxic-by-inhalation (TIH) or poisonous-by-inhalation (PIH) materials, as so designated under federal law, must implement PTC pursuant to federal legislation. We propose to adopt supplemental schedules to the R-1 to require financial disclosure with respect to PTC to help inform the Board and the public about the specific costs attributable to PTC implementation.
Reducing Regulatory Burden; Retrospective Review Under E.O. 13563
In accordance with Executive Order 13563, ``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,'' and Executive Order 13579, ``Regulation and Independent Regulatory Agencies,'' the Surface Transportation Board is undertaking review of its existing regulations to evaluate their continued validity and determine whether they are crafted effectively to solve current problems facing shippers and railroads. As part of this review, the Board seeks public comments on whether any of its regulations may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and how to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them, as appropriate.
American Chemistry Council, The Chlorine Institute, Inc., the Fertilizer Institute, and PPG Industries, Inc. v. Alabama Gulf Coast Railway and RailAmerica, Inc.; CF Industries, Inc. v. Indiana & Ohio Railway, the Point Comfort and Northern Railway, and the Michigan Shore Railroad-Petition for Declaratory Order
In response to a petition filed by CF Industries, Inc. (CF) on May 17, 2011, the Board is instituting a declaratory order proceeding under 49 U.S.C. 721 and 5 U.S.C. 554(e). CF requests that the Board declare invalid and unenforceable certain tariffs addressing the movement of Toxic-by-Inhalation Hazardous materials and Poison-by- Inhalation Hazardous materials (TIH/PIH) issued by 3 subsidiaries of RailAmerica, Inc. (RailAmerica): The Indiana & Ohio Railway Company, the Point Comfort and Northern Railway Company and the Michigan Shore Railroad, Inc. (collectively, the RailAmerica railroads). This proceeding will also develop the record with respect to a complaint filed by another shipper and several trade associations in Docket No. NOR 42129, which raises similar issues regarding the handling of TIH/ PIH by another RailAmerica subsidiary.\1\ The Board seeks public comment on the issues raised in both cases.
Western Coal Traffic League-Petition for Declaratory Order
The Board is initiating a declaratory order proceeding to address the effect of the price that Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., paid to acquire BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) in 2010 on the Board's annual BNSF Uniform Railroad Costing System (URCS) and revenue adequacy determinations.