TFI Urges Modernization of Surface Transportation Board

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April 17, 2018

WASHINGTON – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn today thanked the chair and ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials for holding a hearing titled, “Oversight of the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015.”

TFI strongly supports the Surface Transportation Board (STB) Reauthorization Act of 2015, STB’s first reauthorization since it was created in 1996. Jahn was also clear about the modernization challenges that must be addressed. Specifically, Jahn highlighted ongoing work to update how the STB deals with rate review procedures and competitive switching.

“STB’s current rate review standards were put in place 30 years ago and typically take three years at a cost of more than $5 million,” said Jahn. A report by the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board concluded that those procedures are now “unusable by most shippers.” Jahn also highlighted competitive switching to reduce service disruptions and promote competition in lieu of regulation. “Competitive switching is a practical way to give rail customers access to more competitive options.”

In a letter sent to Committee leaders, Jahn also highlighted recent rail service challenges and  advocated “a system where railroads are encouraged to proactively work to prevent service disruptions before they happen. But when problems do occur, we need effective directed service regulations that will benefit everyone,” he said.

Jahn concluded by noting that STB staff will hold informal stakeholder meetings on the ineffectiveness and inadequacy of its service problem remedies. “This is an important opportunity to review the existing regulatory framework for service remedies and how potential changes could benefit the U.S. economy.”

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The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is the leading voice of the nation’s fertilizer industry. Tracing its roots back to 1883, TFI’s membership includes fertilizer producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms. TFI’s full-time staff, based in Washington, D.C., serves its members through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs. Find more information about TFI online at TFI.org and follow us on Twitter at @Fertilizer_Inst and SlideShare. Learn more about TFI’s nutrient stewardship initiatives at nutrientstewardship.org and on Twitter at @4rnutrients.