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About STB > Overview

Overview of the STB
The Surface Transportation Board (STB) was created in the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 and is the successor agency to the Interstate Commerce Commission. The STB is an economic regulatory agency that Congress charged with the fundamental missions of resolving railroad rate and service disputes and reviewing proposed railroad mergers. The STB is decisionally independent, although it is administratively affiliated with the Department of Transportation.

The STB serves as both an adjudicatory and a regulatory body. The agency has jurisdiction over railroad rate and service issues and rail restructuring transactions (mergers, line sales, line construction, and line abandonments); certain trucking company, moving van, and non-contiguous ocean shipping company rate matters; certain intercity passenger bus company structure, financial, and operational matters; and rates and services of certain pipelines not regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The STB staff is divided into the following offices.

  1. The Office of Compliance and Enforcement monitors rail operations throughout the United States and enforces regulations over rail and certain non-rail common carriers in the United States. This office also collects and makes available tariffs from non-Contiguous domestic water carriers.
  2. The Office of Congressional and Public Services is the STB's outreach arm. It works with Members of Congress, the public, and the media to answer questions and provide information about the STB's procedures and actions and about transportation regulation more generally.
  3. The Office of Economics, Environmental Analysis and Administration houses several functions. In addition to handling administrative matters, such as personnel and budget, this Office also houses two sections: (1) the Section of Environmental Analysis, which is responsible for undertaking environmental reviews of proposed STB actions in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws and making environmental recommendations to the STB, and (2) the Section of Economics, which analyzes rate cases, conducts economic and financial analyses of the railroad industry, and audits Class I railroads.
  4. The Office of Proceedings researches and prepares draft decisions.
  5. The Office of General Counsel provides legal advice to the STB and defends agency actions that are challenged in court.