Railroad Cost of Capital-2012
The Board is instituting a proceeding to determine the railroad industry's cost of capital for 2012. The decision solicits comments on the following issues: (1) The railroads' 2012 current cost of debt capital; (2) the railroads' 2012 current cost of preferred equity capital (if any); (3) the railroads' 2012 cost of common equity capital; and (4) the 2012 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 Capital2011, EP 558 (Sub-No. 15) (STB served Sept. 13, 2012).
Notice of Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council Vacancy
The Board hereby gives notice of one vacancy on RSTAC for a small shipper representative. The Board is soliciting suggestions for candidates to fill this vacancy.
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 Recovery Procedures-Productivity Adjustment
In a decision served on February 8, 2013, we proposed to adopt 1.009 (0.9% per year) as the measure of average change in railroad productivity for the 2007-2011 (5-year) averaging period. This represents a 0.1% increase over the average for the 2006-2010 period. The Board's February 8, 2013 decision in this proceeding stated that comments may be filed addressing any perceived data and computational errors in our calculation. It also stated that, if there were no further action taken by the Board, the proposed productivity adjustment would become effective on March 1, 2013.
Grand Trunk Western Railroad Company-Acquisition of Operating Easement-CSX Transportation, Inc.
The Board is granting an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements at 49 U.S.C. 11323-25 for Grand Trunk Western Railroad Company (GTW), an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway Company, to acquire from CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT) an exclusive, perpetual, non-assignable railroad operating easement over approximately 2.1 miles of CSXT's Memphis Terminal Subdivision, between Leewood, Tenn., milepost 00F371.4, and Aulon, Tenn., milepost 00F373.4 (Leewood-Aulon Line), subject to employee protective conditions. The Leewood-Aulon Line is currently owned by CSXT. Illinois Central Railroad Company, a GTW affiliate, operates over it via trackage rights. Along with the proposed easement acquisition by GTW, CSXT would retain local and overhead trackage rights over the Leewood-Aulon Line. GTW's easement acquisition is one part of an Agreement for Exchange of Perpetual Easements between GTW and CSXT. In exchange for GTW's acquiring an easement from CSXT over the Leewood-Aulon Line, GTW has agreed to grant CSXT an exclusive, perpetual, non-assignable railroad operating easement over 22.37 miles of GTW track on the Elsdon Subdivision between the connection with CSXT at Munster, Ind., milepost 31.07, and Elsdon, Ill., milepost 8.7, which connects to the southern end of the BNSF Railway Company's Corwith Yard. The Board is separately granting authority for CSXT's acquisition of this operating easement in the Chicago area in Docket Nos. FD 35522 et al.\1\
Academy Express, L.L.C.-Acquisition of Property-Golden Ring Travel & Transportation, Inc.
On January 10, 2013, Academy Express, L.L.C. (Academy), a motor carrier of passengers, filed an application for authority under 49 U.S.C. 14303 to acquire the property of Golden Ring Travel & Transportation, Inc. (Golden Ring), also a motor carrier of passengers. 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 set forth at 49 CFR 1182.5 and 1182.8.
Review of the General Purpose Costing System
Through this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Surface Transportation Board (Board) is proposing certain changes to its general purpose costing system, the Uniform Railroad Costing System (URCS). Specifically, the Board is proposing to adjust how URCS calculates certain system-average unit costs in Phase II, thereby obviating the need for URCS to apply a separate make-whole adjustment in Phase III. The Board is also proposing other related changes to URCS that would result in more accurate movement costs, as well as changes to two of its reporting requirements.
Diana Del Grosso, Ray Smith, Joseph Hatch, Cheryl Hatch, Kathleen Kelley, Andrew Wilklund, and Richard Kosiba-Petition for Declaratory Order
In response to a petition filed on August 1, 2012, by Diana Del Grosso, Ray Smith, Joseph Hatch, Cheryl Hatch, Kathleen Kelley, Andrew Wilklund, and Richard Kosiba (Petitioners), the Board is instituting a declaratory order proceeding under 49 U.S.C. 721 and 5 U.S.C. 554(e). Petitioners request that the Board declare that specific operations conducted in the town of Upton, Mass. (Town) at a bulk transloading facility (Upton Facility), claimed to be performed by the Grafton and Upton Railroad (G&U), do not constitute ``transportation by a rail carrier,'' and that the Town's zoning and other regulations are therefore not preempted under 49 U.S.C. 10501(b). This notice provides for further submissions by the parties and seeks public comment.
Information Collection Activities
The Surface Transportation Board (Board), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3519 (PRA), gives notice that the Board will seek from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) an extension of approval for the currently approved collection, system diagram maps, described below. The Board is seeking comments regarding this collection concerning (1) Whether the collection 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. Comments will be summarized and included in the Board's request for OMB approval.
BNSF Railway Company-Lease Exemption-Norfolk Southern Railway 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. 11323-25 for BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) to lease from Norfolk Southern Railway Company approximately 1.2 miles of rail line (the Line) located between W. 23 Street on the northern end and a point approximately 600 feet north of the Chicago SAG Canal on the southern end in Chicago, Ill. Under the lease, BNSF proposes to rehabilitate the currently inoperable Line to provide a new connection between major freight yards and main line tracks, thereby reducing congestion and delays and adding capacity to the Chicago area freight rail infrastructure. The lease exemption is subject to standard labor protective conditions.
Tongue River Railroad Company, Inc.-Rail Construction and Operation-In Custer, Powder River and Rosebud Counties, MT
Tongue River Railroad Company, Inc. (TRRC) seeks a Board license under 49 U.S.C. 10901 to construct and operate a rail line in southeast Montana. The purpose of the proposed line is to transport low sulfur sub-bituminous coal from mine sites in the Otter Creek and Ashland, Mont., area. TRRC had filed a revised application for its construction authority on October 16, 2012, but modified the project in a December 17, 2012 supplemental application that supersedes the October 16 revised application. As discussed in the supplemental application, TRRC's preferred routing for the proposed line would be the Colstrip Alignment between Colstrip, Mont., and Ashland/Otter Creek, Mont., the southern portion of which was approved previously by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). The Board here gives notice that it is accepting the supplemental application. The Board has already established a service list for this proceeding in a notice served on September 20, 2012, and a procedural schedule for filings on the transportation merits in a decision served on November 1, 2012. Under that schedule, filings concerning whether the supplemental application meets the criteria of 49 U.S.C. 10901 are due by March 1, 2013, and any reply comment from TRRC is due by April 15, 2013. As indicated below, any entity that is not currently on the service list that submits a filing by March 1 will be added to the service list.