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Surface Transportation Board Proposes Rule to Improve Waybill Sample Reporting

11/29/2019 (Friday) [PDF Version]
No. 19-18

Contact:  Janie Sheng (202) 245-0221
FedRelay 1 (800) 877-8339

The Surface Transportation Board today is proposing revised regulations to improve the utility of the Waybill Sample reporting that railroads submit to the Board.  Building on the work of the agency’s Rate Reform Task Force (RRTF), the Board is proposing these amendments to enhance the Waybill Sample as part of its continued effort to make the agency’s rate review procedures more accessible, efficient, and transparent.

After holding informal meetings throughout the country in 2018, the RRTF issued its recommendations in a report released in April 2019.  Among other recommendations, the RRTF report recommended that the Board adjust the sampling rates for its Waybill Sample in order to yield a more robust sample.  Waybill Sample data is used in a variety of contexts, such as exemption decisions, stratification reports, traffic volume and rate studies, and certain rate cases.

The current waybill sampling rates vary based on the number of carloads on a railroad’s waybill.  The Board is proposing to simplify the sampling rates for non-intermodal carload shipments and to specify separate sampling strata and rates for intermodal shipments.  The proposed reporting changes would create a more robust Waybill Sample that would assist the Board in its decision-making and analyses as well as other users of the data, without creating an undue burden on railroads.

Comments in Waybill Sample Reporting, EP 385 (Sub-No. 8), are due by January 28, 2020, and replies are due by February 27, 2020.  Today’s decision may be viewed and downloaded at the Board’s website here.