Wednesday, February 18, 1998
Contact: Dennis Watson
TDD (202) 565-1695
SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD
ADOPTS REVISIONS TO ITS USER FEES
TO REFLECT APPROPRIATE INFLATIONARY COST INCREASES
Surface Transportation Board (Board) Chairman Linda J. Morgan announced today that the Board has adopted its 1998 User Fee Update Schedule (1998 Update) for the processing of various transportation financial transactions and other types of proceedings filed with the Board. The 1998 Update is primarily designed to offset the combined 1998 federal government-wide general and locality salary increase of 2.45% that became effective in January 1998, and to reflect attendant cost updates associated with services provided by the Board.
The 1998 Update contains 109 existing fee items or sub-fee items (items) and five new items. Approximately two-thirds of these fees reflect increases over the Board’s 1997 Update, ranging from a small increase of $1 for several items to a higher increase of $77,200 for the processing of major railroad financial transactions. Of the items being increased, just under half are being increased by $200 or less, while the remaining items are being increased by more than $200 each. There are also 36 existing items that remain unchanged.
The Board is adding five new items to its 1998 Update, “87 (i)-(v), Arbitration of Certain Disputes Subject to the Statutory Jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board,” at filing costs ranging between $75 and $150. These fees are designed partially to cover the cost of processing binding, voluntary, arbitration disputes of a specific nature involving rail matters between specific parties. These items have been added following the Board’s decision in Arbitration of Certain Disputes Subject to the Statutory Jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board, STB Ex Parte No. 560, (STB served Sept. 2, 1997).
Fee increases involved in the 1998 Update generally were derived from the application of the update formula at section 1002.3(d) of Title 49, United States Code [49 CFR 1002.3(d)], adopted by the Board (following public notice and comment procedures) in the proceeding entitledRegulations Governing Fees for Services--1987 Update, 4 I.C.C.2d 137 (1987). The regulations at 49 CFR 1002 require the Board to conduct such a proceeding annually to update its user fee schedule to reflect the cost of the services it provides. The 1998 Update is in accordance with the Congressional directive, included in the fiscal year 1998 transportation appropriations legislation, that the Board raise $2 million in fees to cover a portion of its budget.
The Board issued its 1998 Update in the proceeding entitled Regulations Governing Fees for Services Performed in Connection with Licensing and Related Services--1998 Update, STB Ex Parte No. 542 (Sub-No. 2). In adopting the 1998 Update, the Board reiterated that the regulations provide for the waiver of a fee for any entity demonstrating that payment of such a fee will present a financial hardship.
Copies of the Board’s fee adoption decision in STB Ex Parte No. 542 (Sub-No. 2), issued to the public today, February 18, 1998, and scheduled to become effective on March 20, 1998, are available by writing:
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