U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, recently met with Surface Transportation Board (STB) Chairman Dan Elliott about the implementation of S. 808, the STB Reauthorization Act, of which Thune was the lead Senate sponsor.
“I appreciated Chairman Elliott taking the time to discuss the next steps as it relates to the implementation of these important reforms to the STB,” said Thune. “Chairman Elliott demonstrated a commitment to executing the provisions in my STB Reauthorization Act and assured me that the first major reforms to the STB in 20 years will be implemented in a timely fashion. I look forward to continuing to work with him and the entire board throughout this process as we work toward improving the responsiveness and efficiency of the STB for South Dakota farmers, ranchers, and other businesses who deal with this federal agency.”
Highlights of S. 808:
- Improves the STB’s current dispute resolution process by setting timelines for rate reviews and expanding voluntary arbitration procedures to address both rate and service disputes;
- Ensures the STB has the authority to proactively resolve problems before they escalate into larger disputes by providing the STB with the ability to initiate investigations on matters other than rate cases; and
- Improves the STB’s structure and decision making processes by expanding the board membership from three to five, and with proper disclosure, allows board members to talk with one another.
The Senate Commerce Committee approved S. 808 by voice vote on March 25, 2015, and it cleared the Senate by unanimous consent on June 18, 2015. President Obama signed the bill into law on December 18, 2015.