STB Task Force Favors Rate Review Changes

A task force of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board has issued a report that recommends changes to the board’s rate review methodologies and policies.

In a news release, the STB said the task forced favored updating and improving methodologies to bring them in line with current transportation issues and trends.

Recommendations of the task force included:

• Offering proposals the STB could adopt to reduce the cost and complexity of small rate disputes.

• Calling for legislation that would permit the STB to require arbitration of small rate disputes.

• Simplifying the existing stand-alone cost test.

• Proposing a new rate methodology that considers the cost structure of the defendant carrier instead of a hypothetical stand-alone carrier.

• Defining long-term revenue adequacy and three structural remedies based on the following: a rate-increase constraint; reversing the board’s long-standing ‘bottleneck’ decisions; and restoring certain simplifications in the existing simplified SAC process.

• Increasing the accessibility of the three-benchmark comparison approach.

• Seeking simplification of the market dominance determination.

The STB said it will seek public views on the report.

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