Petition for Rulemaking; Railroad Performance Data Reporting
The Surface Transportation Board (Board) is opening a rulemaking proceeding in response to a petition to amend its railroad performance data reporting rules. The Board does not rule on the merits of the petition but requests additional information regarding several issues raised in the petition and reply.
Quarterly Rail Cost Adjustment Factor
The Board finds that the second quarter 2019 RCAF (Unadjusted) is 1.065, RCAF (Adjusted) is 0.451, and RCAF-5 is 0.422. Comments on the inclusion of the recalculated figures in the RCAF may be submitted by April 18, 2019.
Payment, Filing, and Service Procedures
The Surface Transportation Board (Board or STB) adopts modifications to its rules pertaining to certain payment, filing, and service procedures. The adopted rule also updates and clarifies fees for copying, printing, and related services and removes outdated language from the Board's regulations.
National Express LLC-Acquisition of Control-Free Enterprise System/Royal, LLC
On February 27, 2019, National Express LLC (National Express) and Sodrel Holding Company, Inc. (Sodrel Holding) (collectively, Applicants), both noncarriers, jointly filed an application for National Express to acquire control of Free Enterprise System/Royal, LLC (Royal) from Sodrel Holding. 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.
Notice of Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee Vacancy; Correction
The Surface Transportation Board published a document in the Federal Register of March 6, 2016, giving notice of one vacancy on its Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee and soliciting suggestions from the public for candidates to fill the vacancy. The published document contained an incorrect description of the vacancy.
Notice of Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council Vacancy
The Board hereby gives notice of an upcoming vacancy on RSTAC for a small shipper representative. The Board seeks suggestions for candidates to fill this vacancy.
Railroad Cost Recovery Procedures-Productivity Adjustment
In a decision served on March 11, 2019, the Board proposed to adopt 1.005 (0.5% per year) as the measure of average (geometric mean) change in railroad productivity for the 2013-2017 (five-year) period. This represents an increase of 0.9% from the average for the 2012-2016 period. The Board's March 11, 2019 decision in this proceeding stated that comments may be filed addressing any perceived data and computational errors in the Board's calculation. The decision also stated that unless a further order is issued postponing the effective date, this decision is effective on March 29, 2019.
Notice of Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee Vacancy
The Surface Transportation Board (Board) hereby gives notice of one vacancy on its Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee (RETAC) for a representative of the electric utility industry. The Board is soliciting suggestions from the public for candidates to fill the vacancy.
Texas Railway Exchange LLC-Construction and Operation Exemption-in Galveston County, Texas
The Surface Transportation Board's (Board's) Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA) in response to a petition for exemption filed on November 21, 2018 by Texas Railway Exchange LLC (TREX) to construct and operate an approximately 2,800-foot line of railroad in the City of Galveston, Galveston County, Texas. The proposed rail line would connect the Texas International Terminals facility (the Terminal) on Galveston Bay with an existing line of railroad operated by BNSF Railway Company by crossing an existing Union Pacific Railroad rail line. The proposed rail line would offer a new alternative rail transportation option for rail traffic entering and leaving the Terminal. The Draft EA evaluates the potential environmental impacts of two alternative rail alignments, as well as the No-Action Alternative and preliminarily concludes that construction of the proposed rail line connection would have no significant environmental impacts if the Board imposes and TREX implements the recommended mitigation measures set forth in the Draft EA. The entire Draft EA is available on the Board's website (www.stb.dot.gov) by clicking on the ``Decisions & Notices'' button that appears in the drop down menu for ``ELIBRARY,'' and searching by Service Date (February 22, 2019) or Docket Number (FD 36186).
Variant Equity I, LP, and Project Kenwood Acquistion, LLC-Acquisition of Control-Coach USA Administration, Inc., and Coach USA, Inc.
On December 20, 2018, Variant Equity I, LP (Variant), and Project Kenwood Acquisition, LLC (collectively, Applicants), both noncarriers, jointly filed an application to acquire from SCUSI Limited 100% of the stock in Coach USA Administration, Inc., a noncarrier that owns 100% of Coach USA, Inc., another noncarrier, that controls 29 motor passenger carriers that hold federally-issued interstate operating authority. The Board is tentatively approving and authorizing the transaction,\1\ 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.
Kean Burenga and Chesapeake and Delaware, LLC-Continuance in Control Exemption-Dover and Delaware River Railroad, LLC
The Board is granting an exemption for Kean Burenga (Burenga) and Chesapeake and Delaware, LLC (CAD), both noncarriers, to continue in control of Dover and Delaware River Railroad, LLC (DDRR), when DDRR becomes a Class III rail carrier in a related transaction involving DDRR's lease and operation of 27.2 miles of rail lines owned by Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NSR) and operation of 80.7 miles of rail lines pursuant to a trackage rights agreement among DDRR, New Jersey Transit Corporation, and NSR.\1\ All of the affected lines are located in the State of New Jersey. The lines over which DDRR will operate connect with lines operated by Dover and Rockaway River Railroad, LCC (Rockaway), another Class III carrier that CAD controls.\2\ Because all of the carriers involved are Class III carriers, this continuance-in- control exemption is not subject to labor protective conditions.
Railroad Cost of Capital-2018
The Board is instituting a proceeding to determine the railroad industry's cost of capital for 2018. The decision solicits comments on the following issues: The railroads' 2018 current cost of debt capital; the railroads' 2018 current cost of preferred equity capital (if any); the railroads' 2018 cost of common equity capital; and the 2018 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 Capital2017, EP 558 (Sub-No. 21) (STB served Dec. 6, 2018).
Water Carrier Tariff Filing Procedures
The Board provides notice that comments to this notice of proposed rulemaking due to the Board during the partial Federal government shutdown period will now be due by February 4, 2019.
Filings Submitted or Due To Be Submitted During the Partial Federal Government Shutdown
The Board provides notice that any material due to be submitted to the Board during the partial Federal government shutdown period (including comments on environmental documents) will now be due no later than February 4, 2019, unless otherwise ordered by the Board. Further, filings (including recordations) that were submitted during the shutdown will be considered filed on January 28, 2019, provided all filing requirements have been met.