Surface Transportation Board Welcomes Informal Discussions in Two Pending Regulatory Proceedings

This article was reprinted from the April 12 USDA Grain Transportation Report.

On March 28, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) waived its ex parte prohibition to permit informal communications with stakeholders regarding EP 665 (Sub-No. 2), “Expanding Access to Rate Relief,” and clarified that a prohibition on ex parte communications is not applicable in EP 722, “Railroad Revenue Adequacy.” 

EP 665 was initiated on August 31, 2016, seeking input on developing a new rail rate reasonableness methodology for small disputes, that would be more affordable and accessible to shippers. 

On April 2, 2014, STB opened EP 722 to explore the Board’s methodology for determining railroad revenue adequacy and the use of revenue adequacy, in rate reasonableness cases. 

According to STB, “These decisions will facilitate informal discussions between the Board's Rate Reform Task Force and stakeholders, which could involve issues or comments submitted in the two proceedings. 

"Informal discussions can help the Board obtain a more thorough understanding of the interests of stakeholders and help develop additional ideas for new rate review processes.”