STB Internal Rate-Case Processing

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A June 2015 report on improving the STB's internal procedures for processing rate cases is available below.

One of the STB's most complex responsibilities is evaluating rail rate reasonableness under the Board's stand-alone cost (SAC) methodology. The Board handles these cases using interdisciplinary teams composed of staff from at least three STB offices (the Offices of Economics, Proceedings, and General Counsel). These cases involve voluminous evidentiary submissions by the parties and complex economic, legal, and policy analyses by the Board.

In order to ensure delivery of high-quality and timely decisions in SAC cases, the STB's rate case teams must function efficiently. To improve efficiency, STB Chairman Daniel R. Elliott III created a study team consisting of members of the involved offices, along with resources from an outside contractor. Their report analyzed the agency's internal procedures and made several recommendations to improve the Board's internal processes. The report provided immediate recommendations (e.g., holding early technical conferences), near-term recommendations to be considered over 3-12 months (e.g., formalizing the prioritization of the many "decision-points" that need to be made in rate cases), and longer-term recommendations (e.g., formalizing the rate case staff training program).

It is anticipated that the agency will release SAC processing guidelines in the near term that implement many of the report's recommendations. The goal of both the June 2015 report and the forthcoming guidelines is to ensure that the Board, through efficient decision-making processes, continues to produce high-quality rate decisions in a timely fashion.

The full report appears below.


Assessment of the Board's Internal Rate Case Processing Procedures

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Assessment of Rate Case Processing PDF 1,106 KB