US double-stack freight train (Photo: David Lustig).

USA: The Surface Transportation Board has begun consultation on proposed rule changes intended to reduce the cost and complexity of its rate review procedures, particularly in small cases, and to provide a streamlined market dominance process.

The proposals build on recommendations made by STB’s rate reform task force in April. Comments on the proposals should be submitted by November 12, with responses due by January 10.

The Association of American Railroads said it was reviewing the proposals and would ‘remain fully engaged with the Board and rail customers about how best to create more efficient processes.’

On September 12 AAR President & CEO Ian Jefferies said ‘we continue to urge caution with respect to changes that violate the fundamental legal and economic principles that must bind the Board and warn against unintended consequences. The current regulatory balance has allowed railroads to invest in their networks in order to improve safety and meet the current and future needs of customers.’