The Baltimore and Ohio Chicago Terminal Railroad Company-Joint Use Exemption-Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Company
By decision served November 19, 2014, the Board is granting an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 11323-25 for The Baltimore and Ohio Chicago Terminal Railroad Company (BOCT) and Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Company (IHB) to modify a joint use agreement that would give BOCT dispatching responsibility over approximately 483 feet of track between Blue Island Junction Eastward Absolute Signal, milepost DIH 15.2, and the Westward Absolute Signal at CP Francisco (CP 154), milepost 15.3, near Blue Island Junction, Ill.
Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, L.L.C.-Acquisition and Operation Exemption-City of Fitchburg and Village of Oregon, WI
The Board is granting an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10902 for the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, L.L.C. (WSOR), a Class II rail carrier, to acquire and operate a permanent, exclusive freight rail operating easement over an approximately 15-mile line of railroad (the Line) owned by the City of Fitchburg and the Village of Oregon, Wis. (the Municipalities). The Line, also known as the Evansville Line, extends between milepost 119.0, near Evansville, Wis., and milepost 134.0, near ``MX'' (a crossing of WSOR near Madison, Wis.), in Dane, Green, and Rock Counties. WSOR states that there has been no freight rail traffic on the Line since 1997. However, WSOR asserts that the Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission (WRRTC), which describes itself as a governmental entity representing a consortium of nine Wisconsin counties, has recently been notified that a shipper seeking rail service is locating in the Village of Oregon. Consequently, WRRTC has requested that WSOR initiate service over the Line. WSOR states that it will enter into an agreement with the Municipalities whereby WSOR will acquire the exclusive rail freight easement for resumption of rail operations. The Board is also granting WSOR's request for a waiver of the employee notice requirements of 49 CFR 1121.4(h). This exemption is subject to standard labor protective conditions.
Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, L.L.C.-Acquisition and Operation Exemption-Union Pacific Railroad Company
The Board is granting an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10902 for Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, L.L.C. (WSOR), a Class II rail carrier, to acquire from the Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) and operate a permanent exclusive freight rail operating easement over approximately 69.62 miles of rail line (the Line) in the State of Wisconsin. Specifically, the Line includes: (a) The Reedsburg Line, between milepost 134.0 and milepost 191.90 near Reedsburg; (b) the Central Soya Industrial Lead, between milepost 83.78 and milepost 85.5 in Madison; and (c) the Cottage Grove Industrial Lead, between milepost 81.00 and milepost 71.00. WSOR has been the exclusive operator over the Line since 1996 pursuant to a lease with UP, and upon consummation of the transaction, will continue to operate the line. The exemption is subject to standard labor protective conditions. In the same decision, the Board is granting WSOR a waiver of the employee notice requirements of 49 CFR 1121.4(h).
Notice of Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council Vacancy
The Surface Transportation Board (Board) hereby gives notice of two vacancies for small railroad representatives on RSTAC. The Board is soliciting suggestions from the public for candidates to fill these two vacancies.
Notice of Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee Vacancy
The Surface Transportation Board (Board) hereby gives notice of two vacancies on its Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee (RETAC) for a representative of the downstream segment of the domestic petroleum industry (e.g., refiners, petrochemical producers, natural gas liquids (NGL) producers/distributors, logistics service providers, and other downstream participants) and for a representative of the electric utility industry. The Board is soliciting suggestions from the public for candidates to fill these two vacancies.
CSX Transportation, Inc.-Joint Use-Louisville & Indiana Railroad Company, Inc.
On July 2, 2013, Applicants, CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT) and Louisville & Indiana Railroad Company, Inc. (L&I), filed an application with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) pursuant to 49 United States Code (U.S.C.) 11323 and 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 1180. Applicants seek Board authority for CSXT to acquire from and jointly use with the L&I a perpetual, non-exclusive railroad operating easement over L&I's rail line. The subject L&I rail line extends from a connection with CSXT in Indianapolis, Indiana at milepost (MP) 4.0, to a connection with CSXT in Louisville, Kentucky at MP 110.5 (L&I Line). The joint use and easement acquisition are referred to as the Proposed Transaction. Both CSXT and L&I would continue to use the L&I Line. CSXT would pay L&I $10 million dollars for the operating easement and would spend between $70 and $90 million to improve the rail line to allow CSXT to move longer, faster, and heavier trains. Currently, the L&I Line carries two to seven trains per day on the various sections of the line. Under the Proposed Transaction, CSXT would reroute some of its trains from current CSXT routes in the Indiana-Ohio-Kentucky region to a new route that includes the L&I Line in Indiana. The rerouting of these CSXT trains would add 13 to 15 trains per day over the various sections of the L&I Line. In August 2013, the Board's Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) issued a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) that focused on the potential impacts of the proposed operational changes on the L&I Line, and also considered potential construction impacts associated with the extension of several rail line sidings and replacement of the Flatrock River Bridge, all on the L&I Line. During the public review and comment period on the Draft EA, OEA received comments that raised environmental issues that it had not addressed in the document. As a result, OEA decided to prepare a Supplemental EA focusing on the new environmental issues. Today, OEA has issued the Supplemental EA, which is available on the Board's Web site, www.stb.dot.gov, by clicking ``Decisions'' under ``Quick Links,'' and locating the document under the service date of 10/31/2014. The Supplemental EA analyzes the potential operational impacts of CSXT moving additional trains on the following three CSXT rail lines: Indianapolis Terminal SubdivisionLouisville Secondary Branch, Indianapolis Line Subdivision, and Louisville Connection. The Supplemental EA also quantifies potential impacts to wetlands, floodplains, and forested areas that could result from extending rail line sidings and replacing the Flatrock River Bridge on the L&I Line, and includes a review of potential changes in wildlife strikes that could occur under the Proposed Transaction. Additionally, the Indiana State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and OEA concur that (1) replacement of the Flatrock River Bridge would constitute an adverse effect on a historic property considered eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places; (2) avoidance of the adverse effect is not feasible if the L&I Line is to safely accommodate the modern rail traffic under the Proposed Transaction; (3) there appears to be no feasible alternative to bridge replacement and that documentation prior to removal would be an appropriate mitigation measure; (4) documentation completed by Applicants meets SHPO's standards; and (5) a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) would memorialize the mitigation measures (i.e., documentation) and resolve adverse effects of the undertaking. OEA prepared a draft MOA that SHPO indicates it would sign as currently drafted. The draft MOA is located in Appendix I of the Supplemental EA and interested parties are invited to comment.
Notice and Request for Comments
As part of its continuing effort to streamline the process to seek feedback from the public on agency service delivery, and 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 is requesting from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of generic clearance for the collection of qualitative feedback on agency service delivery. The Board previously published a notice about this collection in the Federal Register on July 28, 2014, at 79 FR 43820. 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 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 considered and also included in the Board's request for OMB approval.
Academy Express, L.L.C.-Acquisition of the Properties of Go Bus LLC and Its Affiliate, MCIZ Corp.
Academy Express, L.L.C. (Academy Express), a motor carrier of passengers, has filed an application under 49 U.S.C. 14303 to acquire properties of Go Bus LLC (Go Bus) and its affiliate, MCIZ Corp. (MCIZ), both motor carriers of passengers.\1\ 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.
Quarterly Rail Cost Adjustment Factor
The Board has approved the fourth quarter 2014 Rail Cost Adjustment Factor (RCAF) and cost index filed by the Association of American Railroads. The fourth quarter 2014 RCAF (Unadjusted) is 0.977. The fourth quarter 2014 RCAF (Adjusted) is 0.420. The fourth quarter 2014 RCAF-5 is 0.396.
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 the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C. app. 2 Sec. 10(a)(2).