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Full Text of Decision
46439SERVICE DATE – AUGUST 6, 2018
Docket No. EP 542 (Sub-No. 26)
REGULATIONS GOVERNING FEES FOR
IN CONNECTION WITH LICENSING AND
RELATED SERVICES—2018 UPDATE
Decided:July 31, 2018
Digest:This decision updates the Board’s filing fees
to reflect 2018 cost levels.Pursuant to
this update, 72 fees will be increased and 2 will be decreased, while 59 fees
will be maintained at current levels.
Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) is required to update its user fees
at least once per year.See
49 C.F.R. § 1002.3(a).The Board’s last annual user-fee update was issued in Regulations
Governing Fees for Services Performed in Connection with Licensing &
Related Services—2017 Update (2017 Fee Update), EP 542 (Sub-No. 25)
(STB served July 28, 2017), and became effective September 1, 2017.This decision updates the Board’s fees based
on the cost study formula set forth at 49 C.F.R. § 1002.3(d) and
other relevant factors.
RESULTS FROM THE 2018 UPDATE
The Board’s current master Schedule
of Filing Fees contains 133 fee items.As discussed further below, as a result of this 2018 update, 72 fees
will increase, two will decrease, and 59 will remain unchanged.
2018 UPDATE FACTORS
The factors that bear on the
full-cost calculation of the Board’s fee items are direct labor costs,
government fringe benefit costs, and three types of overhead costs: the Operations
Overhead factor, the Office Overhead factor, and the Support Services Overhead
Labor.Direct labor costs for 2018 reflect a combined Government-wide 1.4%
general and 0.89% locality salary increase that took effect in January 2018.See Exec. Order No. 13819, 83 Fed. Reg. 12207
(March 20, 2018).
Fringe Benefits.No updates have been instituted with respect to the Government Fringe
Benefit Cost factor.Therefore, the
Government Fringe Benefit Cost factor used in the update formula remains at
Operations Overhead.The Operations
Overhead factor accounts for the time devoted by Office Directors, Deputy
Directors, and any Directors’ assistants or administrative staff.Based on fiscal year (FY) 2017 labor data,
the updated Operations Overhead factor is 18.67%, a 2.92 percentage point decrease
from last year’s level of 21.59%.
Office Overhead.The Office Overhead factor accounts for
non-labor costs in the following seven categories:(1) Property Movement; (2) Rent and
Utilities; (3) Printing; (4) Services to the Board; (5) Materials and
Supplies; (6) Equipment Procurement; and (7) Property Indemnities/Other-Legal
Settlement.Based on FY 2017 levels, the
Office Overhead factor is 32.66%, an increase from last year’s level of 27.60%.
Support Services Overhead.The Support Services
Overhead factor accounts for the time devoted to all Board-wide support
services, such as the mailroom staff, the information technology department,
the financial services department, and the human resources department.This factor decreased slightly from 13.96% to
13.47%, as compared to last year’s decision.
2018 full cost level for each fee item developed from the cost factors
discussed above is set forth in column 10 of APPENDIX A.
FULL COST RESULTS
Increases to direct labor costs and changes to all three of
the Board’s overhead cost factors contribute to bottom-line results for each
fee item in the schedule.As a result, 74
of the Board’s 133 fee schedule items (or 55.6%) must be adjusted to cover the
complete 2018 full cost levels as compared to the 2017 Fee Update full
cost levels.See49 C.F.R. § 1002.3(e).
Certain fees remain unchanged
because the Board has capped certain filing fees out of a concern that higher
fees for particular matters could have a chilling
effect on the ability of some parties to bring an issue to the Board’s
attention, or because certain types of actions were deemed to benefit the
general public. There have been no
changes to the number of capped fee items.The following categories of fees are capped: (1) formal complaint
fees; (2) six fee items introduced
and capped by the Board in 2002; and (3) certain
other fees that historically have been held well below the full cost level.
The United States Government Printing Office (GPO) recently
reduced Federal Register publication costs from $159 per column to $151
per column.U.S. Gov’t Publ’g Office, Circular Letter No. 1003 (March 28, 2018).Therefore, a cost
factor of 0.94968553 ($151/$159) has been applied to publication costs in this
OF FEE LEVELS FOR YEARS 2017 AND 2018
In order to show clearly the
changes to user fees, a comparison table between the new 2018 fee levels and
last year’s 2017 fee levels is provided in APPENDIX
C.The changes are summarized in the
User Fee Schedule
Change in Fee
of $1 to $50
of $200 to $500
Increases of $700 to $2,800
of $11,400 to $57,000
Decreases of $1 to $50
AND COMMENT REQUIREMENT
The fee changes adopted here
generally are a product of the mechanical application of the current update
formula at 49 C.F.R. §1002.3(d), which
was adopted through notice and comment procedures in Regulations Governing
Fees for Services Performed in Connection with Licensing & Related
Services—1987 Update, 4 I.C.C.2d 137 (1987), as well as existing Board
policy regarding capped fees.Additionally, this decision does not contain any new proposed fee
items.Therefore, as with prior fee
updates, we find good cause to conclude that notice and comment are unnecessary
for this proceeding.See
5 U.S.C. § 553(b); 2013 Fee Update, slip op. at 6.
It is ordered:
1.49 C.F.R. Part 1002 of the Code of Federal Regulations is
amended as indicated in APPENDIX B.Notice of the final rules adopted here will
be transmitted to Congress pursuant to the Contract with America Advancement
Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-21, 110 Stat. 847-75 (1996).
2.Notice of this decision will be published in the Federal Register.