Thune STB reform bill passes Commerce Committee

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Farm Forum

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On September 17, U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota), Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, praised the committee’s bipartisan passage of his Surface Transportation Board (STB) reform bill, which he introduced along with Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia). Thune and Rockefeller’s bill, the STB Reauthorization Act of 2014 (S. 2777), would streamline the board’s ability to work together and address rate disputes and service complaints.

“I am pleased the committee was able to work together to pass these common-sense improvements to the STB,” said Thune. “While there is more work to be done to address the concerns that agriculture producers and other shippers face, providing targeted improvements to the STB ensures that it functions as the regulatory body that Congress envisioned, while not stifling the railroads with additional regulations that can reduce infrastructure investment.”

The STB reform bill expands on the work Thune has done with the STB since the beginning of the year to hold railroads accountable for the backlog of rail car and locomotives in South Dakota. Thune has worked with the STB, as well as senior leadership of Canadian Pacific Railway and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, to address service issues that South Dakota shippers have raised. Through letters, meetings, hearings, and now through legislation, Thune continues to fight on behalf of South Dakota shippers and pursue solutions to address the shortage of rail cars and delivery delays.

Thune serves on both the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which has jurisdiction over our nation’s freight and passenger railroads, as well as the Senate Agriculture Committee. In addition, Thune previously served as State Railroad Director under former Governor George S. Mickelson from 1991-1993. For a complete outline of Thune’s work to reduce the rail service backlog, visit his website.