TFI Urges STB to Modernize Bottleneck Decisions and Enhance Competition


December 12, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) thanks the Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) for holding its hearing to review railroad revenue adequacy, including bottleneck reform.

“TFI deeply appreciates the Board’s interest in regulatory reform to improve its oversight of rail rates and service,” said TFI Vice President of Sustainability Lara Moody. “The Board is right to look at bottleneck updates, especially in light of the robust financial health of the rail industry and the consolidation of railroads since these guidelines were first put into place.”

TFI Director of Government Affairs Justin Louchheim will testify on behalf of the fertilizer industry on Dec. 13th, adding that, “TFI fully supports the Board modernizing bottleneck rules so that shippers can obtain bottleneck rate quotes from revenue-adequate carriers. With carriers achieving revenue adequacy and being in such strong financial health, this hearing is part of a series of steps taken by the Board that will promote commonsense free-market principles, enhance competition and strengthen the U.S. economy.” Louchheim added that, “Our nation’s farmers face many challenges right now. What they don’t need are outdated regulations that make the cost of farming more expensive.”

TFI shared a reasonable set of criteria for the Board to consider when deciding whether to require a carrier to quote a bottleneck rate, including that the carrier be long-term revenue adequate, that no other transportation mode provides effective competition over the route, that the Board will only require carriers to quote bottleneck rates on existing interchanges, and that the Board will not require a bottleneck rate to an interchange that is not operationally feasible or would be unsafe.

Click here to read TFI’s testimony as prepared for the record.  


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 and follow us on Twitter at @Fertilizer_Inst. Learn more about TFI’s nutrient stewardship initiatives at and on Twitter at @4rnutrients.