Surface Transportation Board Given New Authority

Rail freight problems are not just the result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Years of attempts to cut costs have led to lower employee volumes, out of service equipment, and closed rail yards; all of which have contributed to the current supply chain disruptions experienced everywhere. In attempts to try to improve, the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials introduced the Freight Rail Shipping Fair Market Act. This legislation will reauthorize the Surface Transportation Board (STB), the federal agency charged with the economic regulation of freight rail, and create a fair and functional marketplace for Class I freight railroads and their customers. Specifically, the bill will strengthen the board’s authority to address rail service emergencies, create financial incentives for both railroads and their customers to efficiently move rail cars, and support freight railroad efforts to identify where freight is located on their systems while in transit, among other (things). An article recently published by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) outlines how impactful this legislation can be to the chemical industry.
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