Rail Customer Coalition calls on White House to fill open STB positions

A letter sent to the White House this week by the Rail Customer Coalition (RCC), which is a large coalition of trade associations representing the manufacturing, energy, and agricultural industries reliant on railroads, called for President Trump to appoint new members and a Chair to the Surface Transportation Board.

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A letter sent to the White House this week by the, which is a large coalition of trade associations representing the manufacturing, energy, and agricultural industries reliant on railroads, called for President Trump to appoint new members and a Chair to the

These positions, in some cases, have been unoccupied for more than a year.

In the letter, the RCC made it clear that it needs a fully-staffed STB that is committed to moving forward on freight rail policy reforms that will streamline overly burdensome regulatory procedures and promote greater competition in the rail sector.

“Competition is the foundation of the free enterprise system and helps American producers grow their businesses, generate new investments and create jobs,” the RCC wrote. “However, many freight rail customers have no effective competition for transportation service. The STB plays a critically important role in resolving rail rate and service issues where competition is lacking.”

It added that Congress unanimously passed the STB Reauthorization Act of 2015 to help improve how the STB operates, and the Board has initiated a number of steps to modernize overly burdensome procedures.  RCC explained that these reforms are aligned with the pro-growth goals of the White House for many important sectors of the U.S. economy, explaining they will help ensure that commodities, including grain, coal, minerals, energy, fertilizer, forest products, steel, and manufactured goods, can be shipped efficiently to both domestic and international markets.

“Unfortunately, with only two of the five STB positions filled and no permanent Chair, progress on many of these overdue regulatory reforms has stalled,” RCC said.

The RCC concluded its letter, saying that in order to regain momentum and support U.S. businesses, it needs the STB to be fully staffed and comprised of members that will make decisions based on current economic realities and founded on free market solutions.

“In addition, it is imperative both for railroads and for their customers to have confidence that the STB is a fair and unbiased arbiter of disputes,” the letter stated. “Therefore, we strongly discourage naming rail industry veterans to the Board, especially as Chair.”

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