According to today's USDA Grain Transportation Report, on December 19, 2022, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) adopted a final rule to establish an arbitration program for small rate disputes (Grain Transportation Report, December 22, 2022).
A railroad’s agreement to participate in the program exempts that railroad from STB’s new, Final Offer Rate Review procedure.
However, STB stipulated that all seven Class I railroads must agree to participate in the arbitration program for it to become operable.
Last month, STB denied the first request from the railroads for a delay (legally known as a “stay”), but also allowed them to revise and resubmit their request.
On February 14, STB also denied the railroads’ latest request.
Separately, multiple railroads have petitioned STB to reconsider the deadline altogether (along with other aspects of the program), but reconsideration decisions can take years.
Barring a quick reconsideration from STB, the railroads must file their decision whether or not to participate in the arbitration program by February 23.