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Jeff D.
Republican CA 10

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  • Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015

    by Representative Jeff Denham

    Posted on 2015-12-10

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    DENHAM. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for giving me time to speak on the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015.

    This is an important piece of legislation that will reform the STB to work more efficiently to better regulate the railroads. This year is the 35th anniversary of the passage of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which saved the railroad industry from bankruptcy.

    Earlier this year, my subcommittee held a hearing on the successes of the railroad deregulation. We heard how railroads were freed to act more like true businesses by charging market-driven rates and being able to right-size their operations along rail lines, which made economic sense.

    This deregulation effort culminated in the creation of the STB in the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995. The STB is a small but significant agency that conducts the economic regulation of the railroads and has not been reauthorized since its creation.

    {time} 1500 The bill we consider today would streamline and simplify regulatory activities, a hallmark of this Congress.

    While the STB has successfully overseen a stronger railroad industry, this bill will help the rail industry better serve its customers: First, it streamlines dispute resolution procedures and sets hard deadlines for completion of rate cases to reduce litigation costs; Second, it provides greater transparency into complaints received by the STB and requires enhanced reporting by the agency; Third, it rejects Big Government re-regulatory action that has been proposed in the past. Instead, it makes necessary reforms to the agency to improve its processes and procedures; Finally, the bill has broad support from shipper groups across the country, including the National Grain and Feed Association, the American Chemistry Council, The Fertilizer Institute, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

    I am pleased to stand here today and support the STB Reauthorization Act. It is only fitting that we are considering this bill just over 35 years since Congress passed the Staggers Rail Act, which allowed the railroads to thrive. I believe this bill will continue to make the STB and the rail industry better for the Nation's rail shippers, and I urge my colleagues to support this critical legislation.

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