The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) issued its strong support for Robert Primus to continue serving as a member of the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in a letter to leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
“The agricultural sector has been adversely impacted by railroad market power and by recent changes to railroad operations,” NGFA noted in the letter sent in advance of Primus’ Sept. 7 confirmation hearing.
“The rail industry has reduced the number of locomotives, crews, and other human and capital assets to reduce railroad operating costs, but often at the expense of their customers. During the past couple of years with Mr. Primus as a member, the Board has responded to these developments with proactive oversight and long-overdue efforts to modernize its regulatory oversight.”
In July, President Joe Biden renominated Primus to a second term of five years on the STB. Primus was nominated by President Donald Trump in July 2020 and confirmed by the Senate in January 2021 to fill an unexpired term of Democrat Deb Miller ending Dec. 31, 2022. If confirmed by the Senate, Primus’ second term would expire Dec. 31, 2027.
This year, STB has requested plans from rail carriers on how they will restore service to acceptable levels and has developed momentum in attempting to create more rail-on-rail competition and a more streamlined method for freight rail customers to challenge unreasonable rates.
“The ability of the STB to follow through and pursue a modern and more balanced approach is dependent upon it having members that are knowledgeable and objective. We respectfully believe Mr. Primus exemplifies these principles,” the letter noted.
Before serving on the STB, Primus spent 30 years in various staff positions in Congress working on a broad range of policy areas with a keen interest in freight and passenger rail transportation.
NGFA urged the committee to approve Primus and the full Senate to confirm his nomination as soon as possible.