Summary: H.R.3163 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.3163. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (10/28/1999)

Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 1999 - Amends Federal transportation law to authorize appropriations for Surface Transportation Board activities for FY 2001.

(Sec. 2) Authorizes the Board to collect fees in each fiscal year in amounts equal to all the costs incurred by the Board in that fiscal year.

(Sec. 3) Directs the Board to use the simplified and expedited method for: (1) determining the rate reasonableness in non-coal rail transportation rate guideline proceedings in considering a challenged rate if the shipper challenging the rate has incurred shipping costs of not more than $500,000 under that rate for the 12-month period immediately preceding the date on which a rate challenge is filed with the Board; and (2) any other rate challenge as it deems appropriate.

(Sec. 4) Amends U.S. rail transportation policy to repeal the mandate that the Board determine adequate revenues for rail carriers.

(Sec. 5) Requires rail transportation rate agreements that are approved by the Board and are currently in effect to terminate on the termination date originally established by the Board or two years after enactment of this Act, whichever occurs first.

(Sec. 6) Changes from discretionary to mandatory the authority of the Board to require rail carriers to enter into reciprocal switching agreements, where it finds such agreements to be practicable and in the public interest, or where such agreements are necessary to provide competitive rail service. Declares that the Board, in making such determination, shall not require evidence of anticompetitive conduct by the rail carrier from which access is being sought. Requires the Board, through an arbitration process, to establish reasonable conditions and compensation which will facilitate the use of such agreements provided the rail carriers cannot agree upon such conditions and compensation within a reasonable time.

(Sec. 7) Authorizes the Board to extend the effective period of time (not more than 335 days beyond the initial 30-day period) it may direct the handling, routing, and movement of rail carrier traffic during emergency situations involving congestion of traffic, unauthorized cessation of operations, or other failure of traffic movement.

(Sec. 8) Declares that transactions of a rail carrier or corporation are not exempt from Federal labor, safety, health, and antitrust laws, or from State and local laws that are not otherwise preempted under Federal law and that deal with labor, employment, employee safety, or railroad safety.

Declares that the Board shall not have the authority to break, modify, or alter any provisions in any collective bargaining agreements or implementing agreements made between a rail carrier and authorized representatives of its employees under the Railway Labor Act or to provide such authority to any other person, carrier, or corporation.

Repeals the requirement that, in order to approve it, the Board must find that an agreement or combination of rail carriers to pool or divide traffic or services or any part of their earnings will not unreasonably restrain competition.

(Sec. 9) Revises certain requirements regarding the approval of the consolidation or merger of two or more rail carriers (including arrangements for the protection of the interests of rail carrier employees) by the Board.

(Sec. 10) Repeals provisions exempting certain collective motor carrier activities from U.S. antitrust laws.

(Sec. 11) Subjects certain transactions involving the consolidation or merger of two or more motor carriers to U.S. antitrust laws.

(Sec. 12) Authorizes appropriations to conduct a study of the rail industry since enactment of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 and the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) Termination Act of 1995.

(Sec. 13) Makes technical corrections to various laws, substituting the Surface Transportation Board for the ICC.