Solid Waste Rail Transfer Facilities
The Clean Railroads Act of 2008 amended the law to restrict the jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board (Board or STB) over solid waste rail transfer facilities. The Clean Railroads Act also added three new statutory provisions that address the Board's regulation of such facilities, which is now limited to issuance of ``land-use-exemption permits'' in certain circumstances. Upon receiving a land-use-exemption permit issued by the Board, a solid waste rail transfer facility need not comply with State laws, regulations, orders, and other requirements affecting the siting of the facility, except to the extent that the Board requires compliance with any of those requirements. The Clean Railroads Act provides that a solid waste rail transfer facility must comply with all applicable Federal and State requirements respecting the prevention and abatement of pollution, the protection and restoration of the environment, and the protection of public health and safety, in the same manner as any similar solid waste management facility not owned or operated by or on behalf of a rail carrier, except for laws affecting the siting of the facility that are covered by the land-use-exemption permit. As required by the Clean Railroads Act, on January 14, 2009, the Board issued interim rules that were published in the Federal Register on January 27, 2009 (2009 interim rules). Based on the comments received and further evaluation, the Board now modifies the review process for land-use-exemption permits under the Clean Railroads Act and modifies other aspects of the 2009 interim rules, in the interest of clarity and efficiency. The Board requests comments on the modifications contained in the interim rules.
Quarterly Rail Cost Adjustment Factor
The Board has approved the second quarter 2011 Rail Cost Adjustment Factor (RCAF) and cost index filed by the Association of American Railroads. The second quarter 2011 RCAF (Unadjusted) is 1.176. The second quarter 2011 RCAF (Adjusted) is 0.523. The second quarter 2011 RCAF-5 is 0.495.
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).
Railroad Cost of Capital-2010
The Board is instituting a proceeding to determine the railroad industry's cost of capital for 2010. The decision solicits comments on the following issues: (1) The railroads' 2010 current cost of debt capital; (2) the railroads' 2010 current cost of preferred equity capital (if any); (3) the railroads' 2010 cost of common equity capital; and (4) the 2010 capital structure mix of the railroad industry on a market value basis. Comments should focus on the various cost of capital components listed above using the same methodology followed in Railroad Cost of Capital2009, EP 558 (Sub-No. 13) (STB served Oct. 29, 2010).
Regulations Governing Fees for Services
The Board proposes to amend the regulations governing user fees for services. The proposed amendment would set the fee for certain formal complaints at $350.
National Trails System Act and Railroad Rights-of-Way
The Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) has instituted a proceeding to clarify, update, and seek public comments on proposed changes to its existing regulations and procedures regarding the use of railroad rights-of-way for railbanking and interim trail use under the National Trails System Act (Trails Act).
Reporting Requirements for Positive Train Control Expenses and Investments
In a decision served on February 10, 2011, the Board granted a petition by the Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) to institute a rulemaking proceeding to explore whether the Board should require Class I railroads to report separately how much each railroad is spending on the development, installation, and maintenance of Positive Train Control, a federally mandated safety system that will automatically stop or slow a train before an accident can occur. Several parties filed comments in reply to UP's petition. The Board will address the arguments and issues raised in those filings in a subsequent decision. The Board's decision makes no determination on the merits of UP's specific proposal.
San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad-Petition for a Declaratory Order
Staff members of the Surface Transportation Board will hold a public meeting concerning the declaratory order proceeding in the above-titled docket. The purpose of the meeting is to allow interested persons to comment on the issues raised in the proceeding. Date/Location: The public meeting will take place on Thursday, February 17, 2011, beginning at 10 a.m. (local time), in Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Hall, 6631 County Road 13, Conejos, Colorado 81129.
Tongue River Railroad Company, Inc.-Construction and Operation-Western Alignment
The Surface Transportation Board's (Board's) Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) (formerly the Section of Environmental Analysis or SEA) prepared a Programmatic Agreement (PA) as the final step in the Section 106 process under the National Historic Preservation Act for Tongue River Railroad Company's (TRRC) application to construct and operate a rail line in southeastern Montana. A final decision authorizing TRRC's construction and operation was issued in October, 2007. The PA was prepared in consultation with the Section 106 signatory and concurring parties and was executed in November, 2005. The PA expired on November 1, 2010, after an initial term of five years. An Amendment to the PA has been executed by all signatory parties extending the existing PA through September 1, 2011, to allow time to update and revise it. The revision would take into consideration the designation of the Wolf Mountain Battlefield as a National Historic Landmark on October 26, 2008. Several Federally recognized Tribes have notified the Board of their interest in being included in the consultation process. The Tribes are concerned about impacts related to the rail line construction and operation on Wolf Mountain Battlefield. The alignment approved by the Board in its October 2007 decision runs through the eastern portion of that site. OEA has recently invited the United States Department of the Interior (National Historic Landmarks Program) and additional Tribes that may have an interest in the project area to participate in the PA consultation process. With this notice, we now invite any other interested parties to participate in the PA consultation process. The updated PA must be executed by September 1, 2011. OEA proposes the following timeline:
Released Rates of Motor Common Carriers of Household Goods
The Surface Transportation Board seeks written public comments and evidence on the average per-pound replacement value for household goods that are lost or damaged while in the care of a moving company.
Competition in the Railroad Industry
The Surface Transportation Board will receive comments and hold a public hearing to explore the current state of competition in the railroad industry and possible policy alternatives to facilitate more competition, where appropriate. The Board is seeking written comments prior to the hearing addressing the legal, factual, and policy matters described below.
City of Temple, Tex.-Acquisition Exemption-Georgetown Railroad Company
On December 15, 2010, the City of Temple, Tex. (Temple), a noncarrier, filed a petition under 49 U.S.C. 10502 for exemption from the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 10901 to acquire from the Georgetown Railroad Company (Georgetown) an approximately 6.277-mile line of railroad, between milepost 0.0, near Belton, and milepost 6.277, at Smith, in Bell County, Tex. (the line), and the trackage rights granted to Georgetown to operate over the line.\1\ In a related transaction, Temple & Central Texas Railway, Inc. (TCTR), a Class III carrier, filed a verified notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1150.41 to operate over the line. That notice was served and published in the Federal Register on December 10, 2010 (75 FR 77,044). Temple & Central Tex. Ry.Operation ExemptionCity of Temple, Tex., FD 35447 (STB served Dec. 10, 2010). The Board seeks comments from interested persons on Temple's request to acquire the line.
Amtrak Emergency Routing Orders
The Surface Transportation Board (Board or STB) proposes to establish regulations governing the issuance of emergency routing orders upon application of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak). Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 24308(b), the Board has statutory authority to require rail carriers to provide facilities immediately when necessary for the movement of Amtrak trains when Amtrak cannot operate its trains via normal routings due to rail line closures or other emergencies.
CSX Transportation, Inc.-Abandonment Exemption-in Allegany County, Md.
Under 49 U.S.C. 10502, the Board is granting a petition for exemption from the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10904(f)(4)(A) to permit Eighteen Thirty Group, LLC (Eighteen Thirty) to go forward with its plan to acquire and restore to service an 8.54-mile line of railroad between milepost BAI 27.0 near Morrison and milepost BAI 18.46 at the end of the track near Carlos, in Allegany County, Md. (the Line). Eighteen Thirty is seeking to acquire the Line as a result of the bankruptcy of James Riffin through an agreement with Mark J. Friedman, Chapter 7 Trustee of the Bankruptcy Estate of James Riffin. Because the line previously was acquired from CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT) pursuant to the Board's offer of financial assistance provisions at 49 U.S.C. 10904 and 49 CFR 1152.27, section 10904(f)(4)(A) otherwise would prohibit the transfer of the Line to any entity other than CSXT until July 10, 2011.