Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
                                                       Calendar No. 554
105th Congress                                                   Report
                                SENATE

 2d Session                                                     105-315
_______________________________________________________________________


 
        SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 1998

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 1802





               September 9, 1998.--Ordered to be printed


       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                       one hundred fifth congress
                             second session

                     JOHN McCAIN, Arizona, Chairman
TED STEVENS, Alaska                  ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, South Carolina
CONRAD BURNS, Montana                DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii
SLADE GORTON, Washington             WENDELL H. FORD, Kentucky
TRENT LOTT, Mississippi              JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West 
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas              Virginia
OLYMPIA SNOWE, Maine                 JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
JOHN ASHCROFT, Missouri              JOHN B. BREAUX, Louisiana
BILL FRIST, Tennessee                RICHARD H. BRYAN, Nevada
SPENCER ABRAHAM, Michigan            BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota
SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas                RON WYDEN, Oregon
                       John Raidt, Staff Director
                       Mark Buse, Policy Director
                  Martha P. Allbright, General Counsel
     Ivan A. Schlager, Democratic Chief Counsel and Staff Director
             James S.W. Drewry, Democratic General Counsel


                                                       Calendar No. 554
105th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE

 2d Session                                                     105-315
_______________________________________________________________________


        SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 1998

                                _______
                                

               September 9, 1998.--Ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


       Mr. McCain, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1802]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 1802) ``A Bill to authorize 
appropriations for the Surface Transportation Board for fiscal 
years 1999, 2000, and 2001'', having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute and an amendment to the title and recommends that 
the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The purpose of the bill is to authorize appropriations for 
the Surface Transportation Board for fiscal year 1999.

                          Background and Needs

  The Surface Transportation Board (STB) was established on 
January 1, 1996, by the ICC Termination Act of 1995 [P.L. 104-
88] (ICCTA). The STB is a three-member, independent agency 
within the Department of Transportation with jurisdiction over 
certain transportation economic regulatory matters.
  Under the law, the STB is responsible for the regulation of 
the rail and pipeline industries and certain non-licensing 
regulation of motor carriers and water carriers. More 
specifically, the rail oversight of the Board encompasses 
maximum rate reasonableness, car service and interchange, 
mergers and line acquisitions, and line constructions and 
abandonments. The Board's jurisdiction also includes limited 
oversight of the intercity bus industry and rate regulation 
involving non-contiguous domestic water transportation, 
household goods carriers, collectively determined motor 
carrierrates, as well as the disposition of motor carrier undercharge 
claims.
  The Board's resources were reduced by approximately 50 
percent from those at the Interstate Commerce Commission at the 
time of its termination, yet it continues to maintain a 
considerable workload. During FY 1997, for example, the Board 
issued 1,429 decisions involving adjudications and rulemakings 
dealing with rail and non-rail transportation issues. These 
decisions pertained to rail carrier consolidations; review of 
rail labor arbitral decisions, rail rates and service line 
sales, line constructions and abandonments. These decisions 
further related to truck rate undercharge cases, intercity bus 
merger and pooling matters, motor carrier collective ratemaking 
oversight, and other non-rail matters such as pipeline rate 
cases.
  On average, the Board has had pending in terms of caseload 
between 400 and 500 adjudications related to all of its 
jurisdictional responsibilities. The number of cases pending at 
the Board at any given time, other than motor carrier 
undercharge cases, remains relatively constant because as cases 
are resolved, new cases are filed.
  The STB is funded through a combination of appropriated funds 
and offsetting collections. The Board collects approximately $2 
million annually in user fees. The Board's existing user fees 
stem from authority granted under Title V of the Independent 
Offices Appropriation Act of 1952, which allows federal 
agencies to recover the specific costs of providing specific 
services. The Board expects to collect approximately $2 million 
for FY 1999 based on its existing fee schedule.

                          Legislative History

  The STB appropriations are authorized through fiscal year 
1998. Legislation to reauthorize the Board, S. 1802, the 
Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 1998, was 
introduced by Senators McCain, Hollings, Hutchison, Inouye, 
Lott, Ford, and Stevens on March 19, 1998. Additional 
cosponsors are Senators Ashcroft and Warner. The legislation 
proposes to reauthorize the appropriations for the STB for 
fiscal years 1999, 2000, and 2001.
  The Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant 
Marine held a hearing to receive testimony on issues 
surrounding reauthorization legislation for the Board on March 
31, 1998. The Committee received testimony from the Board, 
representatives of rail shippers, representatives of the rail 
industry, rail labor, and representatives of household goods 
carriers.
  In addition to the March 31st hearing, the Committee held 
three field hearings on rail service and shipper concerns and 
issues regarding the Board and its authority. Further, the 
Board held two full days of hearings in April at the requests 
of Senators McCain and Hutchison to consider rail competition 
and access issues. The Board announced a series of actions 
concerning rail market dominance, revenue adequacy, competitive 
access, and other issues following those hearings.
  On July 29, 1998, the Committee reported S. 1802 with an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute. As reported, the bill 
would authorize the Board for FY 1999 at $16.190 million. The 
Committee believes the Board should be allowed to use its 
discretion to hire staff within approved budgetary resources 
authorized and appropriated by Congress. The Committee 
recognizes that the Board should be allowed to take appropriate 
action to ensure a transition necessitated by the number of 
Board staff nearing retirement eligibility. In response to the 
anticipated employee retirements in the next several years, the 
Committee understands the need for the Board to hire staff that 
can gain the working knowledge that is necessary to assume the 
Board's complicated caseload responsibilities and other 
workload activities.
  While the reported bill provides for a one-year authorization 
of the Board, the Committee believes it is important to work 
toward a multi-year reauthorization and to ensure the Board has 
adequate resources to meet all of its workload activities. As 
such, the Committee intends to continue to closely monitor rail 
service and shipper issues, as well as other STB matters, in 
the months ahead and begin working early next year to develop 
legislation to provide for a multi-year reauthorization of the 
STB.

                            Estimated Costs

  In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 12, 1998.
Hon. John McCain,
Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1802, the Surface 
Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 1998.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Clare 
Doherty.
            Sincerely,
                                         June E. O'Neill, Director.
    Enclosure.

               congressional budget office cost estimate

S. 1802--Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 1998

    Summary: S. 1802 would authorize the appropriation of $16 
million for the Surface Transportation Board (STB) for fiscal 
year 1999. Enacting S. 1802 would not affect direct spending or 
receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply. 
The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would have no impact on the budgets of state, local, or 
tribal governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: Implementing S. 
1802 would result in new discretionary spending totaling $16 
million over the 1999-2003 period. For purposes of this 
estimate, CBO assumes that the authorized amount will be 
provided by the start of fiscal year 1999 and that outlays will 
occur at historical spending rates for the STB. The estimated 
budgetary impact is shown in the following table. The costs of 
this legislation fall within budget function 400 
(transportation).
    Pay-as-you-go considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 1802 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would have no impact on the budgets of 
state, local, or tribal governments.

                                    [By fiscal year, in millions of dollars]                                    
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              1998     1999     2000     2001     2002     2003 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION                                       
                                                                                                                
STB spending under current law:                                                                                 
    Budget authority \1\..................................       14        0        0        0        0        0
    Estimated outlays.....................................       15        2        0        0        0        0
Proposed changes:                                                                                               
    Authorization level...................................        0       16        0        0        0        0
    Estimated outlays.....................................        0       15        2        0        0        0
STB spending under S. 1802:                                                                                     
    Authorization level \1\...............................       14       16        0        0        0        0
    Estimated outlays.....................................       15       17        2        0        0       0 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 1998 level is the amount appropriated for that year.                                                    

    Estimate prepared by: Clare Doherty.
    Estimate approved by: Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:
    Because S. 1802 does not create any new programs, the 
legislation will have no additional regulatory impact, and will 
result in no additional reporting requirements. The legislation 
will have no further effect on the number or types of 
individuals and businesses regulated, the economic impact of 
such regulation, the personal privacy of affected individuals, 
or the paperwork required from such individuals and businesses.

                       number of persons covered

    The bill as reported would authorize appropriations for the 
Board for fiscal year 1999, adjusting the FY 1998 level for 
inflation and mandatory civilian pay increase costs. Therefore, 
the number of persons covered should be consistent with current 
levels.

                            economic impact

    The bill as reported would authorize appropriations for the 
Board for fiscal year 1999 at $16.190 million, a level based on 
adjusting the FY 1998 level for inflation and mandatory 
civilian pay increase costs.

                                privacy

    The bill as reported would have no adverse impact on the 
personal privacy of individuals affected.

                               paperwork

    Paperwork requirements associated with the bill as reported 
are minimal.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1. Short title

    This section provides that the bill may be cited as the 
Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 1998.

Sec. 2. Authorization of appropriations

    The bill authorizes appropriations for the Board for fiscal 
year 1999 at $16.190 million.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the 
bill as reported would make no change to existing law.