January 3, 2019

Senate confirms two commissioners to Surface Transportation Board

Rail industry regulation agency now has three of five seats filled, but remains closed in government shutdown.

By DC Velocity Staff

The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to confirm two new members to the Surface Transportation Board (STB), the federal agency charged with theeconomic regulation of railroads.

Although the STB remains closed for business—on this 13th day of the partial government shutdown over a budget fight between President Trump and Congress—the move adds Patrick Fuchs and Martin Oberman as commissioners of the agency.

Their appointment brings the number of commissioners on the board to three of its potential five seats. The STB defines itself as an independent adjudicatory and economic-regulatory agency charged by Congress with resolving railroad rate and service disputes and reviewing proposed railroad mergers.

One issue that may come before the STB when government reopens is the new fee structure levied by the Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific railroads on shippers that show up late to drop off their freight, causing delays in both companies' precision scheduled railroading strategy, according to published reports.

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