Railroad Cost Recovery Procedures-Productivity Adjustment
In a decision served on February 14, 2017, the Surface Transportation Board tentatively adopted 1.020 (2.0% per year) as the measure of average change in railroad productivity for the 2011-2015 (five-year) averaging period. This value represents an increase of 0.6% from the average for the 2010-2014 period. Because of the unique circumstances of this year's productivity adjustment calculation, including the proposal of a linking factor to address a change in methodology in the calculation of an input to the productivity adjustment, the Board is making its productivity adjustment tentative to allow public comment on this approach. The Board will hold a technical conference with interested parties and Board staff.
United States Rail Service Issues-Performance Data Reporting
On December 5, 2016, the Board published a final rule in this docket that established new regulations requiring all Class I railroads and the Chicago Transportation Coordination Office (CTCO), through its Class I members, to report certain service performance metrics on a weekly, semiannual, and occasional basis. The Board is staying the effective date of the final rule.
United States Department of Energy and United States Department of Defense v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, et al.; United States Department of Energy and United States Department of Defense v. Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad Company, et al.
On October 20, 2016, the United States Department of Energy and the United States Department of Defense (the Government) and Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NSR) (collectively, Movants) filed a motion requesting approval of an agreement (NSR Settlement Agreement) that would settle these rate reasonableness disputes as between them only. The Board is adopting a procedural schedule for filing comments and replies addressing their proposed settlement agreement.
Jersey Marine Rail, LLC-Petition for Declaratory Order
By decision served on January 31, 2017, the Board granted an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10901 for Jersey Marine Rail, LLC (JMR) to operate as a Class III rail carrier over approximately 5,000 feet of track within the City of Linden, N.J. JMR states that it intends to rehabilitate and restore rail service over the tracks, which include a three-track holding yard and three former industrial spur tracks. JMR states that all six tracks were previously served by a common carrier and have been out of service for up to 30 years. According to JMR, it leases the existing tracks and land upon which it proposes to restore service and operate for a term, with extensions, totaling 50 years. This transaction is exempt from environmental reporting requirements under 49 CFR 1105.6(c) because the operational changes would not exceed any of the thresholds established in 49 CFR 1105.7(e)(4) or (5).
60-Day Notice of Intent To Seek Extension of Approval and Merger of Collections: Statutory Licensing Authority
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- 3521 (PRA), the Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) gives notice that it is requesting from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) an extension of approval for the information collections required from those seeking licensing authority under 49 U.S.C. 10901-03 and consolidation authority under sections 11323-26. The Board is also seeking approval to merge into this collection (OMB Control Number: 2140-0023) the collection of information about interchange commitments (OMB Control Number: 2140-0016).
Civil Monetary Penalties-2017 Adjustment
The Surface Transportation Board (Board) is issuing a final rule to implement the annual inflationary adjustment to its civil monetary penalties, pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.
60-Day Notice of Intent To Seek Approval of an Existing Collection in Use Without an OMB Control Number: Dispute Resolution Procedures Under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015
As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) gives notice that it is requesting from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of a new collection to implement a directive of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015, FAST Act). Title XI of the FAST Act, entitled ``Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015,'' gives the Board jurisdiction to resolve cost allocation and access disputes between National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), the states, and potential non-Amtrak operators of intercity passenger rail service. The FAST Act directs the Board to establish procedures for the resolution of these disputes, ``which may include the provision of professional mediation services.'' The Board adopted final rules to implement these procedures in Dispute Resolution Procedures Under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015, EP 734 (STB served Nov. 29, 2016). Due to a technical omission in the notice of proposed rulemaking in EP 734 under the PRA, the Board is seeking OMB approval for this collection in this notice.
Publication Requirements for Agricultural Products; Rail Transportation of Grain, Rate Regulation Review
Through this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Surface Transportation Board (Board or STB) proposes amendments to its regulations governing the publication, availability, and retention for public inspection of rail carrier rate and service terms for agricultural products and fertilizer. The Board also clarifies its policies on standing and aggregation of claims as they relate to rate complaint procedures.
Quarterly Rail Cost Adjustment Factor
The Board approves the first quarter 2017 Rail Cost Adjustment Factor (RCAF) and cost index filed by the Association of American Railroads. The first quarter 2017 RCAF (Unadjusted) is 0.888. The first quarter 2017 RCAF (Adjusted) is 0.373. The first quarter 2017 RCAF-5 is 0.353.
Monarch Ventures Inc.-Acquisition of Control-Quick Coach Lines Ltd. and Vancouver Tours and Transit Ltd. D/B/A Charter Bus Lines of British Columbia
On November 21, 2016, Monarch Ventures Inc. (Monarch), a noncarrier, filed an application under 49 U.S.C. 14303 for Monarch to acquire from Royal City Charter Coach Lines Ltd. (Royal), a noncarrier, control of the assets and business operations of Quick Coach Lines Ltd. (QCL) and Vancouver Tours and Transit Ltd. d/b/a Charter Bus Lines of British Columbia (VTT). 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 at 49 CFR 1182.5 and 1182.8.
Revised Inspection of Records and Related Fees
The Surface Transportation Board (Board or STB) is revising its regulations governing ``Inspection of Records'' and ``Fees'' in accordance with changes to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) made by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 (FOIA Improvement Act). Pursuant to the FOIA Improvement Act, the Board is extending the deadline for administrative appeals, adding information on dispute resolution services, and amending the way fees are charged in certain circumstances.
Notice of Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council Vacancies
The Board hereby gives notice of vacancies on RSTAC for (1) a representative of a small shipper; and (2) a representative for a Class I railroad. The Board is soliciting suggestions for candidates to fill these vacancies.
Rules Relating to Board-Initiated Investigations
The Surface Transportation Board (Board or STB) is adopting final rules for investigations conducted on the Board's own initiative pursuant to Section 12 of the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015.
United States Rail Service Issues-Performance Data Reporting
The Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) is adopting a final rule to establish new regulations requiring all Class I railroads and the Chicago Transportation Coordination Office (CTCO), through its Class I members, to report certain service performance metrics on a weekly, semiannual, and occasional basis.
60-Day Notice of Intent To Seek Extension of Approval: Information Collection Activities (Complaints, Petitions for Declaratory Orders, and Petitions for Relief Not Otherwise Specified)
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- 3521 (PRA), the Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) gives notice that it is requesting from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of an extension of the information collections required for (1) complaints filed under 49 U.S.C. 1321, 10701-10707, 11101 and 11701-11707 and 49 CFR 1111; (2) petitions for declaratory orders under 5 U.S.C. 554(e) and 49 U.S.C. 1321; and (3) catch-all petitions (for relief not otherwise specified) under 49 U.S.C. 1321 and 49 CFR part 1117. Under these statutory and regulatory sections, the Board provides procedures for persons to make a broad range of claims and to seek a broad range of remedies before the Board. The information collections relevant to these complaints and petitions are described separately below.
Dispute Resolution Procedures Under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015
The Surface Transportation Board (Board) adopts final rules to implement passenger rail-related dispute resolution provisions under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015 (FAST Act).