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STB Chairman Martin J. Oberman Retires

05/10/2024 (Friday) [PDF Version]
No. 24-24

Michael Booth
FedRelay 1 (800) 877-8339

The Surface Transportation Board today announced the retirement of Chairman Martin J. Oberman.  Chairman Oberman joined the STB on January 22, 2019, following his Senate confirmation. He has served as Chairman since January 21, 2021, as designated by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Under Chairman Oberman’s leadership, the agency held several public hearings on important topics, including serious rail service issues, the CPKC merger, and the Amtrak Gulf Coast matter.  In those hearings and in other public meetings, Chairman Oberman was known for asking the hard, direct, and incisive questions necessary to get from parties the information the agency needed to get to the bottom of the issues presented. Within the agency, Chairman Oberman has been known as a consensus builder, always interested in hearing opposing viewpoints and identifying a path forward on which all can agree.

Chairman Oberman noted that “It has been the honor of my career to have served on the Board for the past five years, and more importantly, to have been selected by President Biden to serve as STB Chairman and as a member of the White House Competition Council. In my view, at the STB, over the last three years, we have been able to make meaningful contributions towards accomplishing those goals with respect to the railroad industry.” Chairman Oberman went on to say, “While I look forward to spending more time with my family, I will miss the dedicated STB staff who have worked tirelessly as public servants.”

Vice Chair Karen Hedlund said “The experience I have had working with Chairman Oberman has been the highlight of my career. His work to lead the railroad industry out of the service crisis was extraordinary. While at the same time he achieved final consensus on a historic new regulation on reciprocal switching. His leadership will be sorely missed.”

“Marty’s incisive analysis, collaborative spirit, and boundless energy will be greatly missed. He has approached public service with a powerful sense of fairness, passion for reform, and commitment to understanding the practical effects of government action. At the Board and throughout his career, Marty has championed transparency and proactive problem-solving. On a personal level, he is a wonderful friend, and I have greatly enjoyed our many debates and deliberations. I am immensely grateful for his years of service to our country,” said Board Member Patrick Fuchs.

“Without question, Marty was the right Chairman at the right time. His leadership and tenacity guided the Board through a tumultuous service meltdown as well as a myriad of difficult cases that came before the Agency. Marty elevated the voice of shippers and rail labor and never missed an opportunity to remind the Class Is of their public responsibility to provide consistent and reliable service on a safe and resilient network. Though he is departing the Board, Marty’s impact will be felt for many years to come,” said Board Member Robert Primus.

Board Member Michelle Schultz said “I want to express my gratitude to Marty for his exemplary leadership and dedication to the Board.  In his role as chairman, Marty embraced challenges and passionately sought solutions.  He worked tirelessly to bring a thoughtful approach to many complex issues.  Marty deeply valued collaboration and consensus and I believe the Board and the nation’s network are better because of it. I will miss working with him and his friendship but know that he will enjoy his well-deserved time with his family.”

Upon Chairman Oberman’s departure today, President Biden intends to designate Board Member Robert Primus as STB Chairman.