Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved S. 808—the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015. This action follows the Senate passing the legislation by unanimous consent in June.
Brett Blankenship, president, National Association of Wheat Growers, thanked the House for taking this action, saying, “I applaud the House for following the Senate’s lead in passing this important legislation, and I thank Chairman Thune for writing these reforms to the functioning of the Surface Transportation Board.”
This legislation, authored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), contains several important changes to the structure of the STB, including an increase in its members from three to five members; transparency requirements to ensure the reporting of the nature and disposition of complaints considered by the Board; the establishment of a voluntary arbitration process to resolve disputes; and the new ability of the Board to initiate investigations without having to wait for a formal complaint to be filed.
The bill now heads to the President for his signature.