Surface Transportation Board Seats New Chair

Jahn added, “We would also like to thank outgoing Chair Ann Begeman for her leadership on tackling service issues and excessive charges related to the adoption of Precision Scheduled Railroading.”

Association of American Railroads (AAR) president and CEO Ian Jefferies issued a statement on the AAR website saying, “AAR congratulates Marty Oberman on his appointment to lead the STB as the agency continues its mission of facilitating a fluid, reliable rail network. Chairman Oberman’s knowledge of rail operations and experience working with many diverse stakeholders will serve him well as he leads the STB’s consideration of many important issues. With numerous pending proposals before the STB, railroads urge the members to ground deliberations in sound economic principles and reject measures that would undermine the industry’s ability to invest in and for the future. Freight railroads look forward to continued engagement with the new chairman about how the industry can continue to deliver for rail customers and the American public.”

The National Grain and Feed Association, along with 23 National Associations, 20 State and Regional Agribusiness Associations affiliated with NGFA and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, affiliated with the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), sent a letter to President Biden on Jan. 19, encouraging him to designate Oberman to lead the STB.

The NGFA on behalf of the other groups also noted in the letter that, “Oberman is knowledgeable and well-versed on the status and background of several pending rulemakings underway at the STB, including rail-rate reform and revenue adequacy of rail carriers. Such leadership also is essential as the STB continues to implement the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015, which will help farmers, agribusinesses and manufacturers be more competitive in the global marketplace, as well as to maximize employment opportunities and safe working conditions for rail workers.”

The letter said that, “During the past few years, the STB has responded to these developments by engaging in a much more robust and long-overdue review of freight rail policy issues. In particular, the agency has developed momentum over the last three years in attempting to create a more streamlined method for freight rail customers to challenge unreasonable rates and to develop guidelines to address egregious and non-reciprocal demurrage and accessorial charges imposed by carriers.”

The letter also noted that, “The current STB is striving to take a more prudent regulatory approach that balances the need of rail carriers to earn sufficient revenues to be profitable and invest in their infrastructure with the commensurate need of rail customers to receive more competitive, reliable, predictable and cost-effective service.”

Here is a link to STB Unfinished Regulatory Proceedings, Rate Case Review Metrics and Formal and Informal Service Complaints.…

Mary Kennedy can be reached at

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