WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) signed a sense-directed letter. Kevin Cramer (RN.D.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), along with 19 bipartisan colleagues urging the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to ensure reliable and consistent rail service for U.S. industries and shippers.
“We are very concerned about the significant disruptions to rail service occurring across the entire U.S. freight rail network. Reports from rail customers, including our manufacturers, farmers, ranchers and energy producers, indicate that reliable rail service is not being provided in many situations,” the letter wrote. “In some cases, rail service issues have forced producers to scale back or temporarily halt production. Other tales of long delays and unpredictable service paint a troubling picture of the conditions our nation’s trade currently faces,” the senators wrote.
“Given the impact of these disruptions to rail service, STB’s oversight role is more critical than ever. As the railways work to address existing challenges through service restoration plans, we urge the STB to consider all constructive options to ensure reliable and consistent rail service is available to shippers across the board. of the American rail network, continue the letter.
The letter also outlines the concerns and issues raised by customers and labor organizations during last month’s STB hearing into “pressing problems in freight rail service” from agricultural producers and grain shippers unable to obtain empty railcars, resulting in significant delays in product delivery to energy producers forced to curtail production due to the constantly delayed arrival of railcars.
Grassley, Cramer and Baldwin were joined by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Rounds (RS.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Patty Murray (D-Wash .), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mark Kelly (D -Arizona), John Hoeven (RN.D.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Joe Manchin (DW.Va.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
The letter is supported by the following groups: the National Grain and Feed Association, the National Mining Association, the American Chemistry Council and Growth Energy.