U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement after the Surface Transportation Board (STB) published its final rule on performance data and metrics reporting requirements for Class I railroads throughout the United States. The final STB rule makes permanent the interim weekly reporting requirements that have been in place since October 2014. The STB took action after a nationwide freight rail disruption in 2013 and 2014 severely impacted the ability of shippers to get their goods to markets around the country and world.
“Today’s decision by the STB is a win for farmers, fertilizer suppliers, and other rail shippers in South Dakota and around the United States,” said Thune. “These common-sense performance reporting requirements will bring greater transparency to the industry, which will in turn help everyone in the supply chain – from the producer all the way to the consumer. Greater transparency will also help identify future rail disruptions and mitigate any potential impact to the industry or the economy.”
In December 2015, Thune wrote to STB Chairman Daniel Elliott, STB Vice Chairman Ann Begeman, and STB Member Debra Miller to express his strong support for making these reporting requirements permanent. In August 2016, Elliott, Begeman, and Miller participated in a Thune-led Commerce Committee field hearing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to examine freight rail reform implementation.
Thune authored a major rail reform package that was approved last year by the Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the nation’s freight rail industry, as well as the full Senate. Thune’s bill, the STB Reauthorization Act of 2015, was the first legislative reform of the agency since its creation and was signed into law in December 2015.