STB Schedules Hearings on Three ‘Significant’ Matters

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) in first-quarter 2022 will hold public hearings on three “significant” pending matters: CSX’s merger application to acquire Pan Am Systems, Amtrak’s application to operate Gulf Coast service, and proposed reciprocal switching regulations.

Railway Age Capitol Hill Contributing Editor Frank N. Wilner urged just such a move in July. (Read “High Time for Sunshine at STB.”)

Each proceeding to be covered at the hearings “involves issues with the potential for significant impact, not only on the involved railroads, but on the shipping community, labor, rail passengers, consumers and the public at large,” STB Chairman Martin J. Oberman said in the Nov. 12 announcement. “Discussing these issues in a public forum is an important step for improving public participation and accountability for the Board. I anticipate conducting more public hearings and oral arguments in significant matters before the Board.”

Oberman underscored that he and the STB are “committed to transparency in Board proceedings and facilitating public participation in the Board’s rulemakings and adjudicatory decisions.” 

Public hearings will be held:

• Jan. 13, 2022 (and Jan. 14, 2022, if necessary) on the revised application for CSX to acquire control of Pan Am Systems, Inc., and its short line subsidiaries (Docket No. FD 36472). Download below the STB’s July 30, 2021 decision accepting for consideration the revised application.

• Feb. 15, 2022 (and Feb. 16, 2022, if necessary) on Amtrak’s application seeking an STB order requiring CSX and Norfolk Southern to allow intercity passenger trains to operate over their rail lines between New Orleans and Mobile (Docket No. FD36496). Download below the STB’s Oct. 15, 2021 decision extending the procedural schedule.

• March 15-16, 2022 on reciprocal switching regulations, first proposed in 2016 and encouraged by the Biden Administration to be reviewed (Docket No. EP 711 [Sub No. 1]). Download below the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

STB said the hearings will take place at its Washington, D.C., headquarters; the agency will provide further details at a later date.

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