• DATVF.ATLPHL
    1.751
    -0.063
    -3.5%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    2.041
    0.007
    0.3%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    0.928
    0.007
    0.8%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.459
    -0.043
    -2.9%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    0.984
    0.022
    2.3%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    1.110
    0.019
    1.7%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.155
    0.009
    0.4%
  • DATVF.VEU
    1.634
    -0.013
    -0.8%
  • DATVF.VNU
    1.466
    -0.005
    -0.3%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.194
    -0.017
    -1.4%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.569
    0.015
    1%
  • ITVI.USA
    9,394.010
    -295.340
    -3%
  • OTRI.USA
    7.540
    -0.110
    -1.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    9,375.560
    -302.450
    -3.1%
  • TLT.USA
    2.730
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    156.000
    -2.000
    -1.3%
  • DATVF.ATLPHL
    1.751
    -0.063
    -3.5%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    2.041
    0.007
    0.3%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    0.928
    0.007
    0.8%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.459
    -0.043
    -2.9%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    0.984
    0.022
    2.3%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    1.110
    0.019
    1.7%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.155
    0.009
    0.4%
  • DATVF.VEU
    1.634
    -0.013
    -0.8%
  • DATVF.VNU
    1.466
    -0.005
    -0.3%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.194
    -0.017
    -1.4%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.569
    0.015
    1%
  • ITVI.USA
    9,394.010
    -295.340
    -3%
  • OTRI.USA
    7.540
    -0.110
    -1.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    9,375.560
    -302.450
    -3.1%
  • TLT.USA
    2.730
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    156.000
    -2.000
    -1.3%
American Shipper

Senators welcome debate on STB bill

Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation marked up a bill concerning the STB Wednesday.

   After hearing from a host of members that urged caution when further developing the “Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2014,” the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Wednesday passed the bill out of committee.
   Many senators on the committee requested clarification about some of the details of the bill, which would streamline the Surface Transportation Board. Ranking Member John Thune, R-S.D., reminded senators that the “straightforward” legislation isn’t meant to add more regulation to the railroads. In fact, the bill is simply a way to let the STB “function as the regulatory body that Congress envisioned, while not stifling the railroads with additional regulations that could stifle investment in what we all know is a very capital intensive industry.”
   Thune said that 70 organizations have written into the committee to express support for the bill.
   “I think much of the angst that I’ve heard from shippers over the years could be solved if we provided an avenue to resolve concerns on the front end before they become larger issues that turn into multi-year, stand-alone cost rate cases that cost both the railroads and shippers millions of dollars,” he said. He added, though, that the bill is a work in progress and that committee members will work together with stakeholders to keep molding the legislation.  
   Roy Blount, R-Mo., said the development of the bill has moved quickly, and that things need to slow down moving forward in order for senators to be “thoughtful” when crafting the final legislation.
   “We did not really get into the details of this in the way I’d like to, and I hope we continue to work on this,” he said of the initial exploration of the bill.  
   Dan Coats, R-Ind., added his voice to the chorus calling for a deliberate, thorough investigation of the issues at hand in the STB.
   “We’re continuing to learn about a situation that needs to be dealt with,” he said. “We’ve laid the foundation here. I also will support the bill moving forward, but we all know we’ll have to take this up next year, and for me to be satisfied here, I think we need to make adjustments to it.”
   Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., echoed previous comments, saying there are “lingering issues” with the bill.
   “There seems to be universal agreement here that we need to work on this bill more going forward,” she said.
   While shippers groups have widely supported the STB reorganization, the Association of American Railroads previously came out in opposition of the bill. In a statement, the organization said the bill would hurt service levels and hamstring railroads. AAR said it specifically takes issue with items in the bill that would allow the STB to conduct investigations and prevent railroad “bundle” contracts.
   “The rail industry believes this legislation will harm the ability of the nation’s railroads to invest in the network and improve service for our shippers,” AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Edward R. Hamberger said in a statement.  “These new restrictive regulations would be imposed on the nation’s railroads at a time when investments in capacity, new equipment and new hires are needed.”

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