The Board is adopting final rules establishing that a person receiving rail cars from a rail carrier for loading or unloading who detains the cars beyond the ``free time'' provided in the carrier's governing tariff will generally be responsible for paying demurrage, if that person has actual notice, prior to rail car placement, of the demurrage tariff establishing such liability. The Board also clarifies that it construes the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 10743, titled ``Liability for payment of rates,'' as applying to carriers' line-haul rates, but not to carriers' charges for demurrage.
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 of its intent to seek from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) an extension of approval for the collection of Applications for Land-Use Exemption Permits (for Solid Waste Rail Transfer Facilities). Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 10501(c)(2), as amended by the Clean Railroads Act of 2008 (CRA), the Board issued rules in Solid Waste Rail Transfer Facilities, EP 684 (served on March 24, 2011). Under these rules, a person seeking a Land-Use Exemption Permit must file an application including substantial facts and argument as to why a permit is necessary and, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, an environmental report and/or an environmental impact statement. Under 49 CFR 1155.20, an applicant is required to file a notice of intent to apply for a land-use-exemption permit before filing its application. A suggested form for this notice may be found in Appendix A to part 1155. Further, under 49 CFR 1155.21(e), an application must include a draft Federal Register notice. A suggested form for the draft Federal Register notice may be found at Appendix B to part 1155. 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.
BNSF Railway Company-Temporary Trackage Rights Exemption-Union Pacific Railroad Company
Under 49 U.S.C. 10502, the Board revokes the class exemption as it pertains to the trackage rights described in Docket No. 35808 \1\ to permit the trackage rights to expire at midnight on October 31, 2014, in accordance with the agreement of the parties, subject to the employee protective conditions set forth in Oregon Short Line RailroadAbandonment Portion Goshen Branch Betweem Firth & Ammon, in Bingham & Bonneville Counties, Idaho, 360 I.C.C. 91 (1979).
Railroad Revenue Adequacy: Petition of the Western Coal Traffic League To Institute a Rulemaking Proceeding To Abolish the Use of the Multi-Stage Discounted Cash Flow Model in Determining the Railroad Industry's Cost of Equity Capital
The Surface Transportation Board will receive comments in Docket No. EP 722 to explore the Board's methodology for determining railroad revenue adequacy, as well as the revenue adequacy component used in judging the reasonableness of rail freight rates. The Board will also receive comments in Docket No. 664 (Sub-No. 2) on how it calculates the railroad industry's cost of equity capital. The Board is seeking written comments on these matters, as described below, and later will hold a hearing to address these issues.
United States Rail Service Issues
The Surface Transportation Board (Board) will hold a public hearing on April 10, 2014, at its offices in Washington, DC, to provide interested persons the opportunity to report on recent service problems in the United States rail network, to hear from rail industry executives on plans to address their service problems, and to discuss additional options to improve service.
Notice and Request for Comments
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), the Surface Transportation Board (Board) gives notice that it is requesting from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of the information collectionthe Waybill Samplefurther described below. The Board previously published a notice about this collection in the Federal Register on January 16, 2014, at 79 FR 2,938. That notice allowed for a 60-day public review and comment period. No comments were received. Comments are 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 summarized and included in the Board's request for OMB approval.
Quarterly Rail Cost Adjustment Factor
The Board has approved the second quarter 2014 Rail Cost Adjustment Factor (RCAF) and cost index filed by the Association of American Railroads. The second quarter 2014 RCAF (Unadjusted) is 0.975. The second quarter 2014 RCAF (Adjusted) is 0.421. The second quarter 2014 RCAF-5 is 0.397.
Union Pacific Railroad Company-Acquisition and Operation Exemption-Brownsville and Matamoros Bridge Company
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 Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP), a Class I rail carrier, to acquire and operate 0.8 miles of rail line owned by Brownsville and Matamoros Bridge Company (B&M), between UP milepost 0.59 (B&M milepost 0.80) to the international border with Mexico located at the center point of B&M's railroad bridge (B&M milepost 0.00). B&M is a common carrier by railroad but does not perform railroad operations itself. Historically, UP has conducted all operations on the line. Upon consummation of the transaction, UP will relocate overhead traffic to a newly constructed line outside the city of Brownsville, Tex. This exemption is subject to standard labor protective conditions.
Railroad Cost Recovery Procedures-Productivity Adjustment
In a decision served on March 4, 2014, we proposed to adopt 1.010 (1.0% per year) as the measure of average change in railroad productivity for the 2008-2012 (5-year) averaging period. This represents an increase of 0.1% from the average for the 2007-2011 period. The Board's March 4, 2014 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 19, 2014.
Railroad Cost of Capital-2013
The Board is instituting a proceeding to determine the railroad industry's cost of capital for 2013. The decision solicits comments on the following issues: (1) The railroads' 2013 current cost of debt capital; (2) the railroads' 2013 current cost of preferred equity capital (if any); (3) the railroads' 2013 cost of common equity capital; and (4) the 2013 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 Capital2012, EP 558 (Sub-No. 16) (STB served Aug. 30, 2013).
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 10(a)(2).
TTX Company, et al.
On January 16, 2014, TTX Company (TTX) and certain participating railroads (collectively Applicants) filed an application to extend for 15 years TTX's flatcar pooling authority, which the Board's predecessor, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), originally granted in 1974 and extended in 1989 and 1994, and the Board again extended in 2004. Under the Board's 2004 order, TTX's pooling authority is set to expire October 1, 2014. If the application seeking renewal or modification of pooling authority is pending before the Board but not yet decided by the existing expiration date, the pooling authority shall continue until 180 days after the Board has issued a final decision on the request and all appeals of that decision have been exhausted or the time to appeal has expired.
Rail-Term Corp.-Petition for Declaratory Order
On December 13, 2013, Rail-Term Corp. (Rail-Term) filed a petition for reconsideration of the Board's November 19, 2013 decision which found Rail-Term to be a ``rail carrier,'' as defined in the Interstate Commerce Act at 49 U.S.C. 10102(5), and, therefore, subject to the Board's jurisdiction. In response to filings by the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), and the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association, Inc. (NRC), the Board is allowing the public to file comments as amicus curiae and allowing AAR, ASLRRA, and NRC to participate as amicus curiae.
Petition for Rulemaking to Adopt Revised Competitive Switching Rules
The Surface Transportation Board (the Board) will hold a public hearing to explore further the issues surrounding the petition by The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) and the related comments filed in this proceeding.