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STB Proposes Additional Reporting Requirements For Interchange Commitments

Date Posted: November 16, 2012

The Surface Transportation Board announced Nov. 1 its proposal to require disclosure of additional information concerning interchange commitments underlying a lease or rail-line sale filed with the Board.

An interchange commitment (sometimes called a "paper barrier") is a contractual clause limiting the ability or incentive of the purchaser or lessee of a rail line to interchange traffic with railroads other than the line's seller or lessor.

The Board's rules currently require that a party seeking Board authority to sell or lease a line disclose an interchange commitment in the transaction.

The Board's proposed rule would require a party to include with its initial filing additional information on any interchange commitment's impact on shippers and on the purchaser or lessee railroad.

Long-term interchange commitments can affect the competitive environment for years to come.

The goal of the disclosures is to encourage transactions that are in the public interest, while ensuring that the agency, as well as other interested parties, have sufficient information to judge whether competitive issues require detailed examination.

The Board's notice of proposed rulemaking in Information Required in Notices and Petitions Containing Interchange Commitments, in Docket No. EP 714, is available on the agency's website at

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