WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), along with Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), expressed her support for the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) proposed rule that will address unreliable rail service and the high costs of rail shipping for American businesses by increasing transparency and competition in the freight rail industry. The lack of reliable rail service disrupts operations for farmers, loggers, energy producers, and manufacturers, causing higher prices and leading to increased costs passed on to consumers.
“We have been concerned about the prolonged service challenges facing many rail shippers in recent years and have appreciated the efforts taken by the Board to date to require service improvement plans and increased data reporting,” the senators wrote in a bipartisan letter to STB Chairman Martin Oberman. “We share the Board’s concerns about declines in rail service and believe the reciprocal switching and data provisions of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) would take important steps in supporting many shippers.”
“We simply cannot afford to have widespread rail service disruptions upending operations for thousands of rail shippers. Given the recent trends of poor rail service, now is the time for the Board to move toward a final rule,” the senators continued. “We believe this rule takes an important step in ensuring that farmers, manufacturers, energy producers, and other shippers, and their customers, are able to receive the levels of rail service they need to succeed.”
“The STB has listened to shippers’ concerns, examined the facts, and responded with proposed performance standards that are an important next step to help address inadequate and deteriorating rail service. For years, shippers have been left with little recourse and lost revenues, ultimately weakening the full spectrum of U.S. supply chains. As the largest user by volume of our nation’s rail networks, and a critical industry that feeds our manufacturing and energy supply chains, this proposed rule will benefit the mining industry and every other industry that depends on the materials we supply,” Scott Gemperline, Director of Government and Political Affairs for the National Mining Association, said.