Contact: Dennis Watson (202) 245-0234
10/12/2016 (Wednesday)
Michael Higgins (202) 245-0238
No. 16-27

FedRelay 1 (800) 877-8339


Surface Transportation Board Chairman Daniel R. Elliott announced that the Board will host a public roundtable, at 10:00 am on October 25, 2016, where leading economists will discuss the September 14, 2016, independent study conducted by InterVISTAS Consulting LLC (InterVISTAS), An Examination of the STB’s Approach to Freight Rail Rate Regulation and Options for Simplification.

The Board commissioned the InterVISTAS study in September of 2014 to provide an independent assessment of the Board’s stand-alone cost (SAC) rate reasonableness methodology and possible alternatives. Among other things, the scope of the work required InterVISTAS to look for alternative methodologies to SAC that could be used to reduce the time, complexity, and expense historically involved in rate cases; determine whether SAC is sufficient for large rate cases; and whether the Board’s simplified methodologies were appropriate alternatives to SAC. Section 15 of the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015, Public Law 114-110, also required such a study.

The Board has invited noted independent and government economists to discuss the issues and findings contained in the report. The participants are:

Michael Tretheway, InterVISTAS Consulting LLC

Richard Schmalensee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Wesley W. Wilson, University of Oregon

John Mayo, Georgetown University

Jeffrey Macher, Georgetown University

Mark Cooper, Consumer Federation of America

Russell Pittman, Director of Economic Research in the Economic Analysis Group, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

William Huneke, Chief Economist, Surface Transportation Board Office of Economics

William Brennan, Deputy Director, Surface Transportation Board Office of Economics

Jose (Tony) Gomez-Ibanez, Harvard University

Soon after the roundtable, the Board will schedule a public hearing for all stakeholders and interested persons to share their perspectives on rate reasonableness methodologies. The STB will deliberate on a regulatory path forward concerning large rate cases after consideration of expert and stakeholder views in open and transparent settings.

“I appreciate the participation of such esteemed economists at our roundtable and look forward to an honest and lively discussion on the InterVISTAS report,” stated Chairman Elliott. “Our rate case proceedings and methodologies affect many areas of the transportation industry, and I assure all interested stakeholders that they will have a voice in this important issue. This roundtable is the first step.”

To learn more about the October 25th roundtable, click here. To read the InterVISTAS report, click here.