Text: S.808 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 114-110 (12/18/2015)

 
[114th Congress Public Law 110]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 2227]]

        SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2015

[[Page 129 STAT. 2228]]

Public Law 114-110
114th Congress

                                 An Act


 
    To establish the Surface Transportation Board as an independent 
  establishment, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 18, 2015 -  [S. 
                                 808]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Surface 
Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) <<NOTE: 49 USC 1101 note.>>  Short Title.--This Act may be cited 
as the ``Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015''.

    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. References to title 49, United States Code.
Sec. 3. Establishment of Surface Transportation Board as an independent 
           establishment.
Sec. 4. Surface Transportation Board membership.
Sec. 5. Nonpublic collaborative discussions.
Sec. 6. Reports.
Sec. 7. Authorization of appropriations.
Sec. 8. Agent in the District of Columbia.
Sec. 9. Department of Transportation Inspector General authority.
Sec. 10. Amendment to table of sections.
Sec. 11. Procedures for rate cases.
Sec. 12. Investigative authority.
Sec. 13. Arbitration of certain rail rates and practices disputes.
Sec. 14. Effect of proposals for rates from multiple origins and 
           destinations.
Sec. 15. Reports.
Sec. 16. Criteria.
Sec. 17. Construction.

SEC. 2. REFERENCES TO TITLE 49, UNITED STATES CODE.

    Except as otherwise expressly provided, wherever in this Act an 
amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal 
of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to 
be made to a section or other provision of title 49, United States Code.
SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD AS AN 
                    INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT.

    (a) Redesignation of Chapter 7 of Title 49, United States Code.--
Title 49 is amended--
            (1) <<NOTE: 49 USC 701 prec.>>  by moving chapter 7 after 
        chapter 11 in subtitle II;
            (2) <<NOTE: 49 USC 701 prec.>>  by redesignating chapter 7 
        as chapter 13;
            (3) by redesignating sections 701 through 706 <<NOTE: 49 USC 
        701-706, 1301-1306.>>  as sections 1301 through 1306, 
        respectively;
            (4) <<NOTE: 49 USC 725, 727.>>  by striking sections 725 and 
        727;
            (5) <<NOTE: 49 USC 721-724, 1321-1324.>>  by redesignating 
        sections 721 through 724 as sections 1321 through 1324, 
        respectively; and

[[Page 129 STAT. 2229]]

            (6) by redesignating section 726 <<NOTE: 49 USC 726, 
        1325.>>  as section 1325.

    (b) Independent Establishment.--Section 1301, as redesignated by 
subsection (a)(3), <<NOTE: 49 USC 1301.>>  is amended by striking 
subsection (a) and inserting the following:

    ``(a) Establishment.--The Surface Transportation Board is an 
independent establishment of the United States Government.''.
    (c) Conforming Amendments.--
            (1) Administrative provisions.--Section 1303, as 
        redesignated by subsection (a)(3), <<NOTE: 49 USC 1303.>>  is 
        amended--
                    (A) by striking subsections (a), (c), (f), and (g);
                    (B) by redesignating subsections (b), (d), and (e) 
                as subsections (a), (b), and (c), respectively; and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following:

    ``(d) <<NOTE: Records.>>  Submission of Certain Documents to 
Congress.--
            ``(1) In general.--If the Board submits any budget estimate, 
        budget request, supplemental budget estimate, or other budget 
        information, legislative recommendation, prepared testimony for 
        a congressional hearing, or comment on legislation to the 
        President or to the Office of Management and Budget, the Board 
        shall concurrently submit a copy of such document to--
                    ``(A) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation of the Senate; and
                    ``(B) the Committee on Transportation and 
                Infrastructure of the House of Representatives.
            ``(2) No approval required.--No officer or agency of the 
        United States has any authority to require the Board to submit 
        budget estimates or requests, legislative recommendations, 
        prepared testimony for congressional hearings, or comments on 
        legislation to any officer or agency of the United States for 
        approval, comments, or review before submitting such 
        recommendations, testimony, or comments to Congress.''.
SEC. 4. SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD MEMBERSHIP.

    (a) In General.--Section 1301(b), as redesignated by subsection 
3(a), is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1)--
                    (A) by striking ``3 members'' and inserting ``5 
                members''; and
                    (B) by striking ``2 members'' and inserting ``3 
                members''; and
            (2) by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:

    ``(2) At all times--
            ``(A) at least 3 members of the Board shall be individuals 
        with professional standing and demonstrated knowledge in the 
        fields of transportation, transportation regulation, or economic 
        regulation; and
            ``(B) at least 2 members shall be individuals with 
        professional or business experience (including agriculture) in 
        the private sector.''.

    (b) Repeal of Obsolete Provision.--Section 1301(b), as amended by 
this section, is further amended--
            (1) by striking paragraph (4);
            (2) by redesignating paragraphs (5), (6), and (7) as 
        paragraphs (4), (5), and (6), respectively; and

[[Page 129 STAT. 2230]]

            (3) in paragraph (4), as redesignated, by striking ``who 
        becomes a member of the Board pursuant to paragraph (4), or an 
        individual''.
SEC. 5. NONPUBLIC COLLABORATIVE DISCUSSIONS.

    Section 1303(a), as redesignated by subsections (a) and (c) of 
section 3, <<NOTE: 49 USC 1303.>>  is amended to read as follows:

    ``(a) Open Meetings.--
            ``(1) In general.--The Board shall be deemed to be an agency 
        for purposes of section 552b of title 5.
            ``(2) Nonpublic collaborative discussions.--
                    ``(A) In general.--Notwithstanding section 552b of 
                title 5, a majority of the members may hold a meeting 
                that is not open to public observation to discuss 
                official agency business if--
                          ``(i) no formal or informal vote or other 
                      official agency action is taken at the meeting;
                          ``(ii) each individual present at the meeting 
                      is a member or an employee of the Board; and
                          ``(iii) the General Counsel of the Board is 
                      present at the meeting.
                    ``(B) Disclosure of nonpublic collaborative 
                discussions.-- <<NOTE: Deadline. Public 
                information.>> Except as provided under subparagraph 
                (C), not later than 2 business days after the conclusion 
                of a meeting under subparagraph (A), the Board shall 
                make available to the public, in a place easily 
                accessible to the public--
                          ``(i) <<NOTE: List.>>  a list of the 
                      individuals present at the meeting; and
                          ``(ii) <<NOTE: Summary.>>  a summary of the 
                      matters discussed at the meeting, except for any 
                      matters the Board properly determines may be 
                      withheld from the public under section 552b(c) of 
                      title 5.
                    ``(C) Summary.--If the Board properly determines 
                matters may be withheld from the public under section 
                555b(c) of title 5, the Board shall provide a summary 
                with as much general information as possible on those 
                matters withheld from the public.
                    ``(D) Ongoing proceedings.--If a discussion under 
                subparagraph (A) directly relates to an ongoing 
                proceeding before the Board, the Board shall make the 
                disclosure under subparagraph (B) on the date of the 
                final Board decision.
                    ``(E) Preservation of open meetings requirements for 
                agency action.--Nothing in this paragraph may be 
                construed to limit the applicability of section 552b of 
                title 5 with respect to a meeting of the members other 
                than that described in this paragraph.
                    ``(F) Statutory construction.--Nothing in this 
                paragraph may be construed--
                          ``(i) to limit the applicability of section 
                      552b of title 5 with respect to any information 
                      which is proposed to be withheld from the public 
                      under subparagraph (B)(ii); or

[[Page 129 STAT. 2231]]

                          ``(ii) to authorize the Board to withhold from 
                      any individual any record that is accessible to 
                      that individual under section 552a of title 5, 
                      United States Code.''.
SEC. 6. REPORTS.

    (a) Reports.--Section 1304, as amended by section 3, <<NOTE: 49 USC 
1304.>>  is further amended--
            (1) by striking the section heading and inserting the 
        following:
``Sec. 1304. Reports'';
            (2) by inserting ``(a) Annual Report.--'' before ``The 
        Board'';
            (3) by striking ``on its activities.'' and inserting ``on 
        its activities, including each instance in which the Board has 
        initiated an investigation on its own initiative under this 
        chapter or subtitle IV.''; and
            (4) by adding at the end the following:

    ``(b) Rate Case Review Metrics.--
            ``(1) Quarterly reports.--The Board shall post a quarterly 
        report of rail rate review cases pending or completed by the 
        Board during the previous quarter that includes--
                    ``(A) summary information of the case, including the 
                docket number, case name, commodity or commodities 
                involved, and rate review guideline or guidelines used;
                    ``(B) the date on which the rate review proceeding 
                began;
                    ``(C) the date for the completion of discovery;
                    ``(D) the date for the completion of the evidentiary 
                record;
                    ``(E) the date for the submission of closing briefs;
                    ``(F) the date on which the Board issued the final 
                decision; and
                    ``(G) a brief summary of the final decision;
            ``(2) Website posting.--Each quarterly report shall be 
        posted on the Board's public website.''.

    (b) Compilation of Complaints at Surface Transportation Board.--
            (1) In general.--Section 1304, as amended by subsection (a), 
        is further amended by adding at the end the following:

    ``(c) Complaints.--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Database.>>  In general.--The Board shall 
        establish and maintain a database of complaints received by the 
        Board.
            ``(2) Quarterly reports.--The Board shall post a quarterly 
        report of formal and informal service complaints received by the 
        Board during the previous quarter that includes--
                    ``(A) the date on which the complaint was received 
                by the Board;
                    ``(B) a list of the type of each complaint;
                    ``(C) the geographic region of each complaint; and
                    ``(D) the resolution of each complaint, if 
                appropriate.
            ``(3) Written consent.--The quarterly report may identify a 
        complainant that submitted an informal complaint only upon the 
        written consent of the complainant.
            ``(4) Website posting.--Each quarterly report shall be 
        posted on the Board's public website.''.

[[Page 129 STAT. 2232]]

SEC. 7. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    Section 1305, as redesignated by section 3, <<NOTE: 49 USC 1305.>>  
is amended by striking paragraphs (1) through (3) and inserting the 
following:
            ``(1) $33,000,000 for fiscal year 2016;
            ``(2) $35,000,000 for fiscal year 2017;
            ``(3) $35,500,000 for fiscal year 2018;
            ``(4) $35,500,000 for fiscal year 2019; and
            ``(5) $36,000,000 for fiscal year 2020.''.
SEC. 8. AGENT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

    (a) Designation of Agent and Service of Notice.--Section 1323, as 
redesignated by section 3(a), <<NOTE: 49 USC 1323.>>  is amended--
            (1) in subsection (a), by striking ``in the District of 
        Columbia,''; and
            (2) in subsection (c), by striking ``in the District of 
        Columbia''.

    (b) Service of Process in Court Proceedings.--Section 1324(a), as 
redesignated by section 3(a), <<NOTE: 49 USC 1324.>>  is amended by 
striking ``in the District of Columbia'' each place such phrase appears.
SEC. 9. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION INSPECTOR GENERAL AUTHORITY.

    Subchapter II of chapter 13, as redesignated by section 3(a)(2), is 
amended by inserting after section 1325, as redesignated by section 
3(a)(6), the following:
``Sec. 1326. <<NOTE: 49 USC 1326.>>  Authority of the Inspector 
                  General

    ``(a) In General.--The Inspector General of the Department of 
Transportation, in accordance with the mission of the Inspector General 
to prevent and detect fraud and abuse, shall have authority to review 
only the financial management, property management, and business 
operations of the Surface Transportation Board, including internal 
accounting and administrative control systems, to determine the Board's 
compliance with applicable Federal laws, rules, and regulations.
    ``(b) Duties.--In carrying out this section, the Inspector General 
shall--
            ``(1) keep the Chairman of the Board, the Committee on 
        Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate, and the 
        Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of 
        Representatives fully and currently informed about problems 
        relating to administration of the internal accounting and 
        administrative control systems of the Board;
            ``(2) issue findings and recommendations for actions to 
        address the problems referred to in paragraph (1); and
            ``(3) <<NOTE: Reports.>>  submit periodic reports to the 
        Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
        Senate, and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
        of the House of Representatives that describe any progress made 
        in implementing actions to address the problems referred to in 
        paragraph (1).

    ``(c) Access to Information.--In carrying out this section, the 
Inspector General may exercise authorities granted to the Inspector 
General under subsections (a) and (b) of section 6 of the Inspector 
General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.).
    ``(d) Authorization of Appropriations.--
            ``(1) Funding.--There are authorized to be appropriated to 
        the Secretary of Transportation for use by the Inspector

[[Page 129 STAT. 2233]]

        General of the Department of Transportation such sums as may be 
        necessary to cover expenses associated with activities pursuant 
        to the authority exercised under this section.
            ``(2) Reimbursable agreement.--In the absence of an 
        appropriation under this subsection for an expense referred to 
        in paragraph (1), the Inspector General and the Board shall have 
        a reimbursement agreement to cover such expense.''.
SEC. 10. AMENDMENT TO TABLE OF SECTIONS.

    The table of sections for chapter 13, as redesignated by section 
3(a), <<NOTE: 49 USC 1301 prec.>>  is amended to read as follows:

               ``CHAPTER 13--SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD

                           ``i--establishment

``Sec.
``1301. Establishment of Board
``1302. Functions.
``1303. Administrative provisions.
``1304. Reports.
``1305. Authorization of appropriations.
``1306. Reporting official action.

                          ``ii--administrative

``1321. Powers.
``1322. Board action.
``1323. Service of notice in Board proceedings.
``1324. Service of process in court proceedings.
``1325. Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council.
``1326. Authority of the Inspector General.''.

SEC. 11. PROCEDURES FOR RATE CASES.

    (a) Simplified Procedure.--Section 10701(d)(3) <<NOTE: 49 USC 
10701.>>  is amended to read as follows:

    ``(3) The Board shall maintain 1 or more simplified and expedited 
methods for determining the reasonableness of challenged rates in those 
cases in which a full stand-alone cost presentation is too costly, given 
the value of the case.''.
    (b) <<NOTE: Deadlines.>>  Expedited Handling; Rate Review 
Timelines.--Section 10704(d) <<NOTE: 49 USC 10704.>>  is amended--

    (1) by striking ``(d) Within 9 months'' and all that follows through 
``railroad rates.'' and inserting the following:
    ``(d)(1) The Board shall maintain procedures to ensure the 
expeditious handling of challenges to the reasonableness of railroad 
rates.''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:

    ``(2)(A) <<NOTE: Compliance.>>  Except as provided under 
subparagraph (B), in a stand-alone cost rate challenge, the Board shall 
comply with the following timeline:
            ``(i) Discovery shall be completed not later than 150 days 
        after the date on which the challenge is initiated.
            ``(ii) <<NOTE: Records.>>  The development of the 
        evidentiary record shall be completed not later than 155 days 
        after the date on which discovery is completed under clause (i).
            ``(iii) The closing brief shall be submitted not later than 
        60 days after the date on which the development of the 
        evidentiary record is completed under clause (ii).
            ``(iv) A final Board decision shall be issued not later than 
        180 days after the date on which the evidentiary record is 
        completed under clause (ii).

[[Page 129 STAT. 2234]]

    ``(B) The Board may extend a timeline under subparagraph (A) after a 
request from any party or in the interest of due process.''.
    (c) Procedures.-- <<NOTE: Assessment.>> Not later than 180 days 
after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Surface Transportation 
Board shall initiate a proceeding to assess procedures that are 
available to parties in litigation before courts to expedite such 
litigation and the potential application of any such procedures to rate 
cases.

    (d) Expired Rail Service Contract Limitation.--Section 
10709 <<NOTE: 49 USC 10709.>>  is amended by striking subsection (h).
SEC. 12. INVESTIGATIVE AUTHORITY.

    (a) Authority To Initiate Investigations.--Section <<NOTE: 49 USC 
11701.>>  11701(a) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``only on complaint'' and inserting ``on the 
        Board's own initiative or upon receiving a complaint pursuant to 
        subsection (b)''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following: ``If the Board finds 
        a violation of this part in a proceeding brought on its own 
        initiative, any remedy from such proceeding may only be applied 
        prospectively.''.

    (b) Limitations on Investigations of the Board's Initiative.--
Section 11701, as amended by subsection (a), is further amended by 
adding at the end the following:
    ``(d) <<NOTE: Deadlines.>>  In any investigation commenced on the 
Board's own initiative, the Board shall--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Notice.>>  not later than 30 days after 
        initiating the investigation, provide written notice to the 
        parties under investigation, which shall state the basis for 
        such investigation;
            ``(2) only investigate issues that are of national or 
        regional significance;
            ``(3) permit the parties under investigation to file a 
        written statement describing any or all facts and circumstances 
        concerning a matter which may be the subject of such 
        investigation;
            ``(4) <<NOTE: Recommenda- tions.>>  make available to the 
        parties under investigation and Board members--
                    ``(A) any recommendations made as a result of the 
                investigation; and
                    ``(B) a summary of the findings that support such 
                recommendations;
            ``(5) to the extent practicable, separate the investigative 
        and decisionmaking functions of staff;
            ``(6) dismiss any investigation that is not concluded by the 
        Board with administrative finality within 1 year after the date 
        on which it was commenced; and
            ``(7) not later than 90 days after receiving the 
        recommendations and summary of findings under paragraph (4)--
                    ``(A) dismiss the investigation if no further action 
                is warranted; or
                    ``(B) initiate a proceeding to determine if a 
                provision under this part has been violated.

    ``(e)(1) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Any parties to an investigation 
against whom a violation is found as a result of an investigation begun 
on the Board's own initiative may, not later than 60 days after the date 
of the order of the Board finding such a violation, institute an action 
in the United States court of appeals for the appropriate judicial 
circuit for de novo review of such order in accordance with chapter 7 of 
title 5.

[[Page 129 STAT. 2235]]

    ``(2) <<NOTE: Courts.>>  The court--
            ``(A) shall have jurisdiction to enter a judgment affirming, 
        modifying, or setting aside, in whole or in part, the order of 
        the Board; and
            ``(B) may remand the proceeding to the Board for such 
        further action as the court may direct.''.

    (c) <<NOTE: 49 USC 11701 note. Deadline.>> Rulemakings for 
Investigations of the Board's Initiative.--Not later than 1 year after 
the date of the enactment of this Act, the Board shall issue rules, 
after notice and comment rulemaking, for investigations commenced on its 
own initiative that--
            (1) comply with the requirements of section 11701(d) of 
        title 49, United States Code, as added by subsection (b);
            (2) satisfy due process requirements; and
            (3) take into account ex parte constraints.
SEC. 13. ARBITRATION OF CERTAIN RAIL RATES AND PRACTICES DISPUTES.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 117 is amended by adding at the end the 
following:
``Sec. 11708. <<NOTE: 49 USC 11708.>>  Voluntary arbitration of 
                    certain rail rates and practices disputes

    ``(a) <<NOTE: Deadline. Regulations.>>  In General.--Not later than 
1 year after the date of the enactment of the Surface Transportation 
Board Reauthorization Act of 2015, the Board shall promulgate 
regulations to establish a voluntary and binding arbitration process to 
resolve rail rate and practice complaints subject to the jurisdiction of 
the Board.

    ``(b) Covered Disputes.--The voluntary and binding arbitration 
process established pursuant to subsection (a)--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Applicability.>>  shall apply to disputes 
        involving--
                    ``(A) rates, demurrage, accessorial charges, 
                misrouting, or mishandling of rail cars; or
                    ``(B) a carrier's published rules and practices as 
                applied to particular rail transportation;
            ``(2) shall not apply to disputes--
                    ``(A) to obtain the grant, denial, stay, or 
                revocation of any license, authorization, or exemption;
                    ``(B) to prescribe for the future any conduct, 
                rules, or results of general, industry-wide 
                applicability;
                    ``(C) to enforce a labor protective condition; or
                    ``(D) that are solely between 2 or more rail 
                carriers; and
            ``(3) shall not prevent parties from independently seeking 
        or utilizing private arbitration services to resolve any 
        disputes the parties may have.

    ``(c) Arbitration Procedures.--
            ``(1) In general.--The Board--
                    ``(A) may make the voluntary and binding arbitration 
                process established pursuant to subsection (a) available 
                only to the relevant parties;
                    ``(B) may make the voluntary and binding arbitration 
                process available only--
                          ``(i) after receiving the written consent to 
                      arbitrate from all relevant parties; and
                          ``(ii)(I) after the filing of a written 
                      complaint; or

[[Page 129 STAT. 2236]]

                          ``(II) through other procedures adopted by the 
                      Board in a rulemaking proceeding;
                    ``(C) with respect to rate disputes, may make the 
                voluntary and binding arbitration process available only 
                to the relevant parties if the rail carrier has market 
                dominance (as determined under section 10707); and
                    ``(D) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  may initiate the 
                voluntary and binding arbitration process not later than 
                40 days after the date on which a written complaint is 
                filed or through other procedures adopted by the Board 
                in a rulemaking proceeding.
            ``(2) Limitation.--Initiation of the voluntary and binding 
        arbitration process shall preclude the Board from separately 
        reviewing a complaint or dispute related to the same rail rate 
        or practice in a covered dispute involving the same parties.
            ``(3) Rates.--In resolving a covered dispute involving the 
        reasonableness of a rail carrier's rates, the arbitrator or 
        panel of arbitrators, as applicable, shall consider the Board's 
        methodologies for setting maximum lawful rates, giving due 
        consideration to the need for differential pricing to permit a 
        rail carrier to collect adequate revenues (as determined under 
        section 10704(a)(2)).

    ``(d) Arbitration Decisions.--Any decision reached in an arbitration 
process under this section--
            ``(1) shall be consistent with sound principles of rail 
        regulation economics;
            ``(2) shall be in writing;
            ``(3) shall contain findings of fact and conclusions;
            ``(4) shall be binding upon the parties; and
            ``(5) shall not have any precedential effect in any other or 
        subsequent arbitration dispute.

    ``(e) <<NOTE: Deadlines.>>  Timelines.--
            ``(1) Selection.--An arbitrator or panel of arbitrators 
        shall be selected not later than 14 days after the date of the 
        Board's decision to initiate arbitration.
            ``(2) Evidentiary process.--The evidentiary process of the 
        voluntary and binding arbitration process shall be completed not 
        later than 90 days after the date on which the arbitration 
        process is initiated unless--
                    ``(A) a party requests an extension; and
                    ``(B) the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators, as 
                applicable, grants such extension request.
            ``(3) Decision.--The arbitrator or panel of arbitrators, as 
        applicable, shall issue a decision not later than 30 days after 
        the date on which the evidentiary record is closed.
            ``(4) Extensions.--The Board may extend any of the timelines 
        under this subsection upon the agreement of all parties in the 
        dispute.

    ``(f) Arbitrators.--
            ``(1) In general.--Unless otherwise agreed by all of the 
        parties, an arbitration under this section shall be conducted by 
        an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators, which shall be selected 
        from a roster, maintained by the Board, of persons with rail 
        transportation, economic regulation, professional or business 
        experience, including agriculture, in the private sector.
            ``(2) Independence.--In an arbitration under this section, 
        the arbitrators shall perform their duties with diligence, good

[[Page 129 STAT. 2237]]

        faith, and in a manner consistent with the requirements of 
        impartiality and independence.
            ``(3) Selection.--
                    ``(A) In general.--If the parties cannot mutually 
                agree on an arbitrator, or the lead arbitrator of a 
                panel of arbitrators, the parties shall select the 
                arbitrator or lead arbitrator from the roster by 
                alternately striking names from the roster until only 1 
                name remains meeting the criteria set forth in paragraph 
                (1).
                    ``(B) Panel of arbitrators.--If the parties agree to 
                select a panel of arbitrators, instead of a single 
                arbitrator, the panel shall be selected under this 
                subsection as follows:
                          ``(i) The parties to a dispute may mutually 
                      select 1 arbitrator from the roster to serve as 
                      the lead arbitrator of the panel of arbitrators.
                          ``(ii) If the parties cannot mutually agree on 
                      a lead arbitrator, the parties shall select a lead 
                      arbitrator using the process described in 
                      subparagraph (A).
                          ``(iii) In addition to the lead arbitrator 
                      selected under this subparagraph, each party to a 
                      dispute shall select 1 additional arbitrator from 
                      the roster, regardless of whether the other party 
                      struck out the arbitrator's name under 
                      subparagraph (A).
            ``(4) Cost.--The parties shall share the costs incurred by 
        the Board and arbitrators equally, with each party responsible 
        for paying its own legal and other associated arbitration costs.

    ``(g) Relief.--
            ``(1) In general.--Subject to the limitations set forth in 
        paragraphs (2) and (3), an arbitral decision under this section 
        may award the payment of damages or rate prescriptive relief.
            ``(2) Practice disputes.--The damage award for practice 
        disputes may not exceed $2,000,000.
            ``(3) Rate disputes.--
                    ``(A) Monetary limit.--The damage award for rate 
                disputes, including any rate prescription, may not 
                exceed $25,000,000.
                    ``(B) Time limit.--Any rate prescription shall be 
                limited to not longer than 5 years from the date of the 
                arbitral decision.

    ``(h) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  Board Review.--If a party appeals a 
decision under this section to the Board, the Board may review the 
decision under this section to determine if--
            ``(1) the decision is consistent with sound principles of 
        rail regulation economics;
            ``(2) a clear abuse of arbitral authority or discretion 
        occurred;
            ``(3) the decision directly contravenes statutory authority; 
        or
            ``(4) the award limitation under subsection (g) was 
        violated.''.

    (b) Conforming Amendment.--The table of contents for chapter 
117 <<NOTE: 49 USC 11701 prec.>>  is amended by adding at the end the 
following:

``11708. Voluntary arbitration of certain rail rates and practice 
           disputes.''.

[[Page 129 STAT. 2238]]

SEC. 14. EFFECT OF PROPOSALS FOR RATES FROM MULTIPLE ORIGINS AND 
                      DESTINATIONS.

    (a) <<NOTE: Deadline. Study. Contracts.>>  In General.--Not later 
than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the 
Comptroller General of the United States shall commence a study of rail 
transportation contract proposals containing multiple origin-to-
destination movements.

    (b) Report.--Not later than 1 year after commencing the study 
required under subsection (a), the Comptroller General shall submit a 
report containing the results of the study to--
            (1) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 
        of the Senate; and
            (2) the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of 
        the House of Representatives.
SEC. 15. REPORTS.

    (a) Report on Rate Case Methodology.--Not later than 1 year after 
the date of the enactment of this Act, the Surface Transportation Board 
shall submit a report to the congressional committees referred to in 
section 14(b) that--
            (1) indicates whether current large rate case methodologies 
        are sufficient, not unduly complex, and cost effective;
            (2) indicates whether alternative methodologies exist, or 
        could be developed, to streamline, expedite, and address the 
        complexity of large rate cases; and
            (3) only includes alternative methodologies, which exist or 
        could be developed, that are consistent with sound economic 
        principles.

    (b) <<NOTE: Effective date. 49 USC 1304 note.>>  Quarterly 
Reports.--Beginning not later than 60 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Surface Transportation Board shall submit 
quarterly reports to the congressional committees referred to in section 
14(b) that describes the Surface Transportation Board's progress toward 
addressing the issues raised in each unfinished regulatory proceeding, 
regardless of whether the proceeding is subject to a statutory or 
regulatory deadline.
SEC. 16. CRITERIA.

    Section 10704(a)(2) <<NOTE: 49 USC 10704.>>  is amended by inserting 
``for the infrastructure and investment needed to meet the present and 
future demand for rail services and'' after ``management,''.
SEC. 17. <<NOTE: 49 USC 1301 note.>>  CONSTRUCTION.

    Nothing in this Act may be construed to affect any suit commenced by 
or against the Surface Transportation Board, or any

[[Page 129 STAT. 2239]]

proceeding or challenge pending before the Surface Transportation Board, 
before the date of the enactment of this Act.

    Approved December 18, 2015.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 808:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

SENATE REPORTS: No. 114-52 (Comm. on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 161 (2015):
            June 18, considered and passed Senate.
            Dec. 10, considered and passed House.

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