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Railroad reform bill on track

Railroad reform bill on track

South Dakota Corn Growers Association leaders say they like the proposed legislation that would give the Surface Transportation Board more power to address rail shipping problems.

The South Dakota Corn Growers Association leaders say they are optimistic that a rail reform bill will become law and improve procedures for arbitration and rate cases.

The U.S. Senate recently approved the bill by unanimous consent and sent it to the U.S. House. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) was the lead sponsor of S. 808, the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015. The legislation would expand the board from three members to five, enhance the board's ability to address rail issues as they arise, streamline rate case procedures, and create an alternative dispute resolution process.

Workers ready trains for departure from a siding in South Dakota.

While the STB has been working diligently to ensure the major rail service issues experienced last year by shippers and business in South Dakota and other states don't happen again, last year's crisis highlighted some of gthe inefficiencies that currently exist at the agency," Thune says. "These reports will help make the STB a more efficient, effective and accountable agency for the benefit of shippers and railroads alike."

Doug Noem, Bryant, N.D., SDCGA's secretary treasurer, says reauthorizing the STB would give the agency the ability to streamline rate case procedures and create a meaningful alternative dispute resolution process, in addition to permitting the board to launch its own investigation."

"Rail is South Dakota's gateway to global markets. We're grateful to Sen. Thune for addressing the rail concerns shared by everyone involved with agriculture, the state's No. 1 industry," SDCGA President Keith Alverson, Chester, S.D., says. "We're confident that members of the House will realize the importance of this legislation and take swift action in giving their approval."

Source: SDGCA

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