Contact: Scott Jensen, (202) 249-6511  

WASHINGTON (June 18, 2015) - The U.S. Senate approved  S. 808, the "Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015," today by unanimous consent. ACC President and CEO  Cal Dooley issued the following statement regarding the Senate's passage of this significant legislation:

"Over the past few years, a growing number of policymakers have learned what so many manufacturers, farmers and energy producers know all too well: the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and the nation's freight rail polices are in desperate need of modernization. The STB has not been reauthorized since it was created in 1995, and it's clear that the Board could benefit from an update to better equip it to handle today's challenges.

"Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson have demonstrated strong leadership by listening to the concerns of freight rail customers and by crafting a sensible bill that will improve how the STB addresses freight rail issues. Today's broad bipartisan approval of their proposal marks another important step forward to help address long-standing rate and service issues .

"In addition to winning the support of the full Senate, the legislation has the support of almost 50 trade associations as part of the Rail Customer Coalition , which represents the largest users of freight rail.

"This bill would enact a series of meaningful reforms , including streamlining the STB's overly burdensome rate review process, providing reasonable arbitration procedures to resolve rate disputes, and allowing the STB to be more proactive in resolving freight rail issues. Furthermore, in light of the recent service breakdowns impacting rail customers nationwide, this legislation also emphasizes the existing responsibility of the railroad industry to dedicate revenue appropriately to meet current and future service needs.

"The reforms in the bill would also address some of the underlying issues that were identified in a recent  report by the National Academies' Transportation Research Board and would tackle some of the concerns voiced by STB commissioners about the Board's outdated policies and broken process. 

"We urge the House to join their colleagues in the Senate and to listen to farmers, manufacturers and energy producers in districts across the country by supporting the reasonable changes proposed in this legislation, which will help foster a strong freight rail system and will benefit railroads, shippers and the U.S. economy."

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