About STB > Overview
Overview of the STB
The Surface Transportation Board is an independent adjudicatory and economic-regulatory agency charged by Congress with resolving railroad rate and service disputes and reviewing proposed railroad mergers.
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 agency has authority to investigate rail service matters of regional and national significance.
Created on January 1, 1996 by the ICC Termination Act of 1995, the Board is the successor to the former Interstate Commerce Commission (1887-1995) and was administratively aligned with the U.S. Department of Transportation from 1996 to mid-December 2015. The STB Reauthorization Act of 2015 established the STB as a wholly independent federal agency on December 18, 2015.
The STB staff is divided into the following offices.
- The Office of the General Counsel provides legal advice to the STB and defends agency actions that are challenged in court...
- The Office of Economics performs three primary functions: data gathering and reporting, economic and policy analysis in support of Board decisions, and applied economic analysis, most notably the development of the STB’s costing system. The Office of Economics audits Class I railroads.
- The Office of Environmental Analysis is responsible for undertaking environmental reviews of actions proposed before the agency, according to the national Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws, and making environmental recommendations to the board.
- The Office of the Managing Director handles agency administrative matters, such as facility, budget, and personnel management.
- The Office of Proceedings researches and prepares draft decisions.
- The Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs, and Compliance OPAGAC) serves as the public's point of contact to the STB as well as the agency'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, regulations and actions. The office houses the Rail Customer and Public Assistance Program, which provides an informal venue for the private-sector resolution of shipper-railroad disputes, and also assists Board stakeholders seeking guidance in complying with Board decisions and regulations. The office also oversees all aspects of rail operations subject to the agency's jurisdiction to ensure that such operations are consistent with each carrier's statutory responsibilities. This office maintains the STB library.