The Surface Transportation Board currently has two task forces focused on reforming different parts of the agency’s regulations: the Rate Reform Task Force and the Regulatory Reform Task Force.
The Rate Reform Task Force was established by Chairman Ann Begeman in January 2018 to develop recommendations to reform and streamline the Board’s rate methodology for large cases, and to determine how to best provide a rate review process for smaller rate cases.
In April 2018, the Board announced that the task force would begin holding informal meetings with stakeholders to discuss options and ideas for reforming the Board’s rate review methodologies. Meetings with stakeholders were held throughout 2018.
The task force issued its report to the Board in April 2019 (see Press Release). In the report, the task force made the following recommendations:
A copy of the full report can be accessed here: “Rate Reform Task Force – Report to the Surface Transportation Board” (April 25, 2019).
Subsequent to the report’s publication, the Board Members participated in “Section 5” meetings to discuss the recommendations directly with the task force. The required summaries of the meetings prepared by the Board’s General Counsel are below:
Subsequent to the report’s release, the Board received two letters from members of the U.S. Senate on the report, which are provided below, along with the Board’s responses:
Additional correspondence in response to the task force report can be found on the Non-Docketed Public Correspondence page (look for correspondence with the (†) symbol).
On September 12, 2019, the Board issued two related Notices of Proposed Rulemaking based on recommendations provided in the task force’s report. First, in Final Offer Rate Review, Docket No. EP 755, the Board proposed a new methodology for challenging rates in smaller disputes. Second, in Market Dominance Streamlined Approach, Docket No. EP 756, the Board proposed a streamlined approach for shippers to plead market dominance in rate reasonableness proceedings. More information about these two rulemakings is available here. On August 3, 2020, the Board adopted final rules in Market Dominance Streamlined Approach. More information is available here.
On November 29, 2019, the Board issued another Notice of Proposed Rulemaking based on one of the task force’s recommendations. In Waybill Sample Reporting, EP 385 (Sub-No. 8), the Board proposed new regulations that would simplify the sampling rates for non-intermodal carload shipments and to specify separate sampling strata and rates for intermodal shipments, which would create a more robust Waybill Sample that would assist the Board in its decision-making and analyses. More information about the Board’s proposal is available here. On September 3, 2020, the Board adopted a final rule in Waybill Sample Reporting. More information on the final rule is available here.
The Regulatory Reform Task Force was established to comply with the spirit of Executive Order 13,777 (EO), issued February 24, 2017. The initial goals of the Regulatory Reform Task Force are to: (i) improve implementation of regulatory reform initiatives and policies pursuant to the EO; and (ii) evaluate existing regulations to identify regulations for repeal, replacement, or modification, consistent with applicable law.
The Regulatory Reform Task Force issued a status report 90 days after its creation, followed by a listening session in which stakeholders were invited to present their views on streamlining the agency’s regulations. Subsequent to the listening session, the task force issued a second status report.
Based on the task force’s recommendations, the Board has taken a number of actions to streamline its regulations, including: