Durbin, Duckworth, Colleagues Press Surface Transportation Board On Rail Disruptions

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in a bipartisan letter urging the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to ensure reliable, consistent rail service for American industries and shippers.

“We are very concerned over the significant rail service disruptions occurring throughout the U.S. freight rail network. Reports from rail customers, including our manufacturers, farmers, ranchers, and energy producers, indicate reliable rail service is not being provided in many situations,” the Senators wrote. 

“In some instances, rail service problems have forced producers to curtail or temporarily stop production altogether. Further accounts of lengthy delays and unpredictable service paint a troubling picture of the conditions our nation’s commerce currently faces,” the Senators continued.

“Given the impact of these rail service disruptions, STB’s oversight role is more critical now than ever. As railroads work to address existing challenges through service restoration plans, we urge the STB to examine all constructive options towards ensuring reliable, consistent rail service is available to shippers across the U.S. rail network,” the Senators wrote. 

The letter also outlines concerns and issues raised by customers and labor organizations at last month’s STB hearing on “Urgent Issues in Freight Rail Service” from agricultural producers and grain shippers unable to get empty railcars leading to significant delays in delivering commodities to energy producers forced to curtail production due consistently delayed arrival of railcars.

Durbin, Duckworth, Cramer, and Baldwin were joined by U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jim Risch (R-ID), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), John Hoeven (R-ND), John Kennedy (R-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Mike Braun (R-IN).

The letter is supported by the following groups: the National Grain and Feed Association, National Mining Association, American Chemistry Council, and Growth Energy.

Click here to read the letter.