WASHINGTON, June 18, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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Transportation Research Board and would tackle some of the concerns voiced by STB commissioners about the Board's outdated policies and broken process.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."
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is an $812 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is the nation's largest exporter, accounting for twelve percent of all U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.
SOURCE American Chemistry Council
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