Summary: H.R.4096 — 99th Congress (1985-1986)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.4096. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (01/30/1986)

Consumer Rail Equity Act - Reaffirms the intent of the Congress that the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 and the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 be implemented in a manner which provides both greater competitive alternatives and adequate railroad revenues. Establishes a rebuttable presumption of rail market dominance if a person challenging a transportation rate shows that the railroad charging such rate does not face effective transportation competition.

Shifts the burden of proof regarding transportation rate reasonableness from the shipper to the rail carrier establishing the challenged rate.

Declares that it is Federal policy to encourage and promote competitive transportation rates for domestically produced coal and other commodities in order to increase their competitive position in domestic and export markets.

Directs the Commission to establish a rail cost adjustment factor which includes changes in railroad productivity, volume, and output mix. Provides that certain rail carrier rates shall be reduced to the extent of any subsequent decreases in rail cost adjustment factors.

Includes within the standards used to determine railroad revenue adequacy: (1) identification of revenues, expenses, and investment base reasonably related to rail transportation service; (2) straight-line depreciation of assets reasonably related to rail transportation service, minus deferred tax reserves resulting from accelerated depreciation; and (3) actual cost of debt capital and reasonable estimates of the current cost of equity capital. Requires the Commission, when making revenue adequacy determinations, to consider specified indicators of a rail carrier's financial status.

Requires the Commission to determine, on an annual basis, which rail carriers are earning adequate or inadequate revenues and to determine for each rail carrier the revenues required to achieve or maintain revenue adequacy.

Allows (current law requires) the Commission to exempt persons from application of this Act when: (1) such application is not necessary to implement Federal transportation policy; and (2) the Commission finds there is no market dominance involved in the affected transaction.

Requires any rail carrier providing service under certain line rates to participate in competitive joint rail rates through practicable interchange connections (or publish a competitive proportional rate) if requested to do so by a rail carrier (or shipper or receiver) who has an actual or practicable interchange connection.

Directs the Commission, upon petition of any interested party, to require certain terminal facilities owned by a rail carrier in interstate or foreign commerce to be used by another rail carrier if the Commission finds: (1) it is in the public interest to do so; and (2) that the owner of such terminal facility will not suffer substantial impairment of its own business interests.

Directs the Commission to require, upon petition by an interested party, that rail carriers enter into reciprocal switching agreements if such an agreement is in the public interest or necessary to provide alternative competitive rail service. Directs the Commission to establish reciprocal switching compensation at a level not to exceed the current percentage of the actual variable costs for such service (unless the carrier demonstrates that a higher level is reasonable and necessary).

Revises railroad line abandonment procedures to provide that a rail carrier must wait one year before resubmitting a previously denied abandonment application, unless a substantial change in circumstances can be shown.

Requires the Commission to hold hearings in communities affected by a proposed railroad line abandonment if requested to do so by community protestants. Requires the Commission to base its abandonment determination upon financial data regarding the facility proposed to be abandoned rather than upon financial data regarding industry-wide averages.

Subjects to Commission review any State decision regarding intrastate rates, rules, and practices if a party to such State proceedings petitions for Commission review. Requires the Commission to take action on such petition within 120 days of its receipt. Authorizes the Commission to vacate a State decision found inconsistent with this Act.