National Express Transit Corporation-Acquisition of Control-Aristocrat Limousine and Bus, Inc.
On February 5, 2018, National Express Transit Corporation (National Express), an intrastate passenger motor carrier, and Brenda Baxter, Richard Wright, and Ralph Wright (collectively, Sellers) (National Express and Sellers collectively, Applicants), jointly filed an application for National Express to acquire from Sellers control of Aristocrat Limousine and Bus, Inc. (Aristocrat), an interstate and intrastate passenger motor carrier. 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.
Ex Parte Communications in Informal Rulemaking Proceedings
In this decision, the Surface Transportation Board (the Board) modifies its regulations to permit, subject to disclosure requirements, ex parte communications in informal rulemaking proceedings. The Board also adopts other changes to its ex parte rules that would clarify and update when and how interested persons may communicate informally with the Board regarding pending proceedings other than rulemakings. The intent of the modified regulations is to enhance the Board's ability to make informed decisions through increased stakeholder communications while ensuring that the Board's record-building process in rulemaking proceedings remains transparent and fair.
Academy Bus, LLC and Franmar Leasing LLC-Purchase of Certain Assets of Daniel's Charters & Tours LLC
On January 23, 2018, Academy Bus LLC (Academy), a motor carrier of passengers; Franmar Leasing LLC (Franmar), a non-carrier; and Daniel's Charters & Tours LLC (Daniel's Charters), a motor carrier of passengers (collectively, Applicants) jointly filed an application for Academy and Franmar to acquire certain properties of Daniel's Charters. 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 Board rules.
Railroad Cost Recovery Procedures-Productivity Adjustment
In a decision served on February 8, 2018, the Board proposed to adopt 0.996 (-0.4% per year) as the measure of average (geometric mean) change in railroad productivity for the 2012-2016 (five-year) period. This represents an increase of 0.3% from the average for the 2011-2015 period. The Board's February 8, 2018 decision in this proceeding stated that comments may be filed addressing any perceived data and computational errors in the Board's 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, 2018.
Railroad Cost of Capital-2017
The Board is instituting a proceeding to determine the railroad industry's cost of capital for 2017. The decision solicits comments on the following issues: The railroads' 2017 current cost of debt capital; the railroads' 2017 current cost of preferred equity capital (if any); the railroads' 2017 cost of common equity capital; and the 2017 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 Capital2016, EP 558 (Sub-No. 20) (STB served Aug. 7, 2017).
Railroad Cost Recovery Procedures-Productivity Adjustment
In a decision served on January 29, 2018, the Surface Transportation Board adopted as final its calculation of the productivity adjustment, with the linking factor for the year 2015, proposed in its September 29, 2017 decision in the same docket. See R.R. Cost Recovery ProceduresProductivity Adjustment, EP 290 (Sub-No. 4), slip op. at 4 (STB served Sept. 29, 2017). The productivity change for 2015, based on changes in input and output levels from 2014, is 0.939, which is a decrease of 7.8% from the rate of productivity growth in 2014 relative to 2013 (1.018). Incorporating the 2015 value with the values from 2011-2014 period produces a geometric average productivity growth of 0.994 for the five-year period 2011-2015, or -0.6% per year.
Semiannual Regulatory Agenda
The Surface Transportation Board is publishing the Acting Chairman's agenda of rulemaking actions pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (Pub. L. 96-354, 94 Stat. 1164) (Sep. 19, 1980). The items listed in the Regulatory Flexibility Agenda for fall 2017 reflect the priorities of the Acting Chairman of the Surface Transportation Board and do not necessarily reflect the priorities of any other individual Board Member. Listed below are the regulatory actions to be developed or reviewed during the next 12 months. Following each rule identified is a brief description of the rule, including its purpose and legal basis.
Civil Monetary Penalties-2018 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.
Notice of Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council Vacancies
The Board hereby gives notice of vacancies on RSTAC for two small shipper representatives, one large shipper representative, two small railroad representatives, and two large railroad representatives. The Board seeks suggestions for candidates to fill these vacancies.
Quarterly Rail Cost Adjustment Factor
The Board has approved the first quarter 2018 Rail Cost Adjustment Factor (RCAF) and cost index filed by the Association of American Railroads. A new base level for the index is calculated in the Board's decision, as the statute requires be done every five years. The first quarter 2018 RCAF (Unadjusted) is 1.027. The first quarter 2018 RCAF (Adjusted) is 0.422. The first quarter 2018 RCAF-5 is 0.402.
Expediting Rate Cases
Pursuant to section 11 of the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015 (STB Reauthorization Act), the Surface Transportation Board (Board) is modifying rules pertaining to its rate case procedures.
Release of Waybill Data
The Surface Transportation Board (STB) published a document in the Federal Register on October 30, 2017, concerning a request from Thompson Hine LLP, on behalf of itself, Economists, and L.E. Peabody & Associates (WB17-4410/20/17) for permission to use certain unmasked data from the Board's 2006-2016 Carload Waybill Samples. STB is correcting the deadline objections to the request are due.
National Express LLC-Acquisition of Control-Queen City Transportation, LLC
On October 13, 2017, National Express LLC (National Express or Applicant), a noncarrier, filed an application under to acquire control of Queen City Transportation, LLC (Queen City). 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.
Sureride Charter Inc.-Acquisition of Control-McClintock Enterprises, Inc. D/B/A Goldfield Stage & Company
On October 3, 2017, Sureride Charter Inc. d/b/a Sundiego Charter Co. d/b/a SunExpress Charter Co. (SCI), an interstate passenger motor carrier, filed an application to acquire McClintock Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Goldfield Stage & Company (the Acquisition Carrier), an interstate passenger motor carrier. 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.
Revisions to the Cost-of-Capital Composite Railroad Criteria
The Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) is adopting a final action to update one of the screening criteria used to create the ``composite railroad'' for the Board's annual cost-of-capital determination. This final action requires a company's stock to be listed on either the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or the Nasdaq Stock Market (NASDAQ), rather than on either the NYSE or American Stock Exchange (AMEX), as the AMEX no longer exists.