Contact: Janie Sheng (202) 245-0221
02/16/2012 (Thursday)
Eric Weiss
No. 12-3

FedRelay 1 (800) 877-8339


The Surface Transportation Board announced today that it will hold a March 22, 2012 public hearing to explore the impact of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (Berkshire)'s acquisition of the BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) on certain costing determinations. Berkshire paid $43 billion for the 2010 acquisition of BNSF. The Board will look at the effect of this price on its annual Uniform Rail Costing System (URCS) and revenue-adequacy findings for BNSF.

URCS is the Board's general purpose rail costing system used annually to estimate variable and total unit costs for Class I railroads (the Nation's largest). The Western Coal Traffic League (WCTL), and other parties, argues that BNSF's acquisition price produced an $8.1 billion write-up in the railroad's net investment base for URCS costing purposes, and decreased BNSF's 2010 annual depreciation calculations by $128 million. WCTL suggests that the Board should, beginning with its 2010 findings, adjust BNSF's URCS costs by removing the $8.1 billion write-up and correspondingly adjusting the railroad's annual depreciation.

The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m., in the Board's Hearing Room at the agency's headquarters located at 395 E Street, SW in Washington, D.C. Parties wishing to participate must file a notice of intent to participate (identifying the party, proposed speaker, and speaking time requested) no later than March 6, 2012.

The Board's notice announcing the hearing was issued to the public today in the proceeding entitled Western Coal Traffic League—Petition for Declaratory Order, FD 35506. The notice will be published in the Federal Register and is available for viewing and downloading on the agency's website, Live video of the hearing will be available on the website.