STB Institutes Rulemaking for Small Rate Dispute Voluntary Arbitration Program
Date: December 02, 2020
On November 24, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) granted a petition for rulemaking sought by five railroad parties – Canadian National Railway Company; CSX Transportation, Inc.; The Kansas City Southern Railway Company; Norfolk Southern Corporation; and Union Pacific Railroad Company – to establish a new voluntary arbitration program for small rate disputes.
The decision came in response to the parties’ September 1 joint petition for rulemaking in which they proposed a voluntary arbitration program for small rate cases that would function alongside the STB’s existing arbitration program. The parties also pledged to participate in the program for five years with certain conditions. Among other things, railroad parties would have a right to withdraw from the voluntary arbitration program if the STB adopts the final offer rate review process in STB Docket No. EP 755 without exempting the participating carriers. The parties also requested that the program be confidential and that arbitrators be prohibited from basing their decisions on a systemwide revenue adequacy measure.
In its decision, the STB expressed its general support for resolving disputes using alternative dispute resolution and granted the railroad parties’ request to initiate a rulemaking proceeding. However, it did not take a position on the parties’ proposal. The STB will issue a formal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at a later date to solicit public comments on the proposal.
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