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Legal Resources

STB Statutes

Statutes governing the STB are primarily found in two portions of the U.S. Code, Title 49 – Transportation.

Information on the legislation in which these laws were enacted is provided below.

Key Railroad Legislation

The ICC Termination Act of 1995

The STB is the successor agency to the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).  Effective January 1, 1996, the ICC was abolished pursuant to the ICC Termination Act of 1995 (ICCTA).  Under ICCTA, many of the ICC’s functions—particularly regarding economic regulation of the freight rail industry—were transferred to the newly established STB.  The ICC’s motor carrier (trucking) functions, including matters relating to licensing and insurance of such carriers and the movement of household goods, were transferred to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

The Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015

In 2015, Congress enacted the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015 (STB Reauthorization Act), the first major legislation affecting the STB since the passage of ICCTA. The STB Reauthorization Act modified various aspects of the agency’s administration and functions.  Most notably, the Act made the STB a wholly independent agency, no longer part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and changed the composition of the STB from three to five members.  In addition, the Act:

  • Allows a majority of STB Board Members to meet in private to discuss agency matters, subject to certain rules and procedures;
  • Gives the STB authority to investigate issues of national or regional significance and requires the Board to establish regulations governing such investigations;
  • Directs the STB to modify its voluntary arbitration process, including increases in the maximum damage awards;
  • Shortens timelines applicable to large rate case proceedings, including time limits for discovery and development of the evidentiary record;
  • Directs the Comptroller General of the United States (the head of the United States General Accountability Office) to begin a study of rail transportation contract proposals containing multiple origin-to-destination movements;
  • Requires STB preparation and publication of a rate case methodology report, as well as various other reports that must be issued quarterly.  (These quarterly reports can be accessed here.)

The Staggers Rail Act of 1980

The Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 (“The 4-R Act”)

The Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 (“The 3-R Act”)

The Transportation Act of 1920

The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887

STB Regulations

The Board’s regulations are found in title 49, chapter X of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Sections 1000 – 1399 

To search other sections of the Code of Federal Regulations, click here.

STB Reports (Bound Volumes 1-7)

Significant decisions of the Surface Transportation Board are printed in bound volumes (STB Reports), which can be viewed electronically using the links below.  There are currently seven published volumes, one for each of the years 1996 through 1998, one for 1999 and the first seven months of the 2000, one for the last four months of the 2000 through the 2001, one for 2002 and the first five months of the 2003, and one for the last seven months of 2003 and 2004.  Publication of STB Reports ceased in 2005.

Volume 1, January 1996 – December 1996
Volume 2, January 1997 – December 1997
Volume 3, January 1998 – December 1998
Volume 4, January 1999 – July 2000
Volume 5, September 2000 – December 2001
Volume 6, January 2002 – May 2003
Volume 7, June 2003 – December 2004