Oversight of the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015
2167 Rayburn House Office Building
This is a hearing of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.
Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials
(Remarks as Prepared)
Today we meet to oversee the implementation of the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015. This is an important law that reformed the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to work more efficiently to better regulate the railroads.
This year is the 38th anniversary of the passage of the Staggers Act of 1980, which saved the railroad industry from bankruptcy and played a major role in railroad deregulation. This deregulatory effort culminated in the creation of the STB in the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995.
The STB is a small but significant agency that conducts the economic regulation of the railroads, and its 2015 reauthorization was the very first since its creation.
The STB Reauthorization act streamlined and simplified government regulatory activities. While the STB has successfully overseen a stronger railroad industry, the Act has helped the rail industry better serve its customers.
It streamlined dispute resolution procedures and set hard deadlines for completion of rate cases to reduce litigation costs.
The Act provided greater transparency into complaints received by the STB, and required enhanced reporting by the agency.
Additionally, it rejected big government re-regulatory action that has been proposed in the past.
The Act made necessary reforms to the agency to improve its processes and procedures.
Finally, the Act had broad support from not only railroads and the STB, but shipper groups across the country, including the National Grain and Feed Association, the American Chemistry Council, the Fertilizer Institute, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.
I am pleased with the content of the STB Reauthorization Act and the bipartisan nature in which it was enacted.
Today, we turn to the STB to evaluate their progress in enacting the STB Reauthorization Act. I am looking forward to hearing from our witnesses, and I would like to thank them for being here.