The Surface Transportation Board (STB) is seeking nominations for candidates to fill a large-railroad representative vacancy on its Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council (RSTAC).
“Due to the expiration of an RSTAC member’s term [Kari A. Kirchhoefer, Vice President-Industrial, Union Pacific], a vacancy exists for a large-railroad representative,” the STB reported in the Feb. 6 edition of the Federal Register (download below). Nominations are due March 7, and candidates may nominate themselves.
RSTAC, which was established by the ICC Termination Act of 1995, focuses on issues of importance to small shippers and small railroads, including railcar supply, rates, competition, and procedures for addressing claims, according to the STB. It is charged with developing “private-sector mechanisms to prevent, or identify and address, obstacles to the most effective and efficient interstate transportation system practicable.” Members provide advice on regulatory, policy and legislative matters to the STB Chairman; Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation; Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. They also prepare an annual report on the council’s activities.
RSTAC’s 15 appointed members comprise representatives of small and large shippers, and small and large railroads; they are appointed by the STB Chairman. The Secretary of Transportation and the five STB members serve as ex officio members.
Each RSTAC member is appointed for a term of three years. While no member will be eligible to serve in excess of two consecutive terms, a member may serve after the expiration of her term until a successor has taken office.
According to the STB, RSTAC members must be citizens of the United States and “represent as broadly as practicable the various segments of the railroad and rail shipper industries.” They may not be full-time employees of the U.S. government. According to revised guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget, it is permissible for federally registered lobbyists to serve on advisory committees, such as RSTAC, as long as they do so in a representative capacity, rather than an individual capacity, the STB noted.
RSTAC typically holds meetings quarterly at the STB’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Members are not compensated for their services and are required to provide for the expenses incidental to their service, including travel expenses, according to the STB; currently, RSTAC members have elected to submit annual dues to pay for RSTAC expenses.
Nominations for candidates to fill the vacancy “should be submitted in letter form, identifying the name of the candidate, providing a summary of why the candidate is qualified to serve on RSTAC, and containing representations that the candidate is willing to serve as an RSTAC member effective immediately upon appointment,” according to the STB, which noted that the Chair is “committed to having a committee reflecting diverse communities and viewpoints and strongly encourages the nomination of candidates from diverse backgrounds.”
In related developments, in 2023, RSTAC appointed Jeremy Ferguson, President of the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers as an at-large member; Justin Broyles, Executive Vice President for Commercial Affairs at R.J. Corman Railroad Group as a small-railroad representative; and Robert (Buck) Rogers, Vice President of Petroleum and Chemicals at CN as a large-railroad representative.