According to today's USDA Grain Transportation Report, on May 12, the Secretary of Agriculture sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board (STB).

The letter expressed appreciation for STB’s efforts to address rail service issues over the past year but also encouraged STB to take additional actions.

Specifically, the letter encouraged STB to: (1) move forward on the private rail car use and emergency service dockets; (2) move forward on reciprocal switching; (3) provide clarity on the railroads’ common carrier obligation, and (4) collect additional first-mile/last-mile data.

More broadly, the letter expressed concern over precision scheduled railroading and its focus on cutting labor and assets to reduce costs and increase profits at the expense of service and safety.

The letter concluded, STB should “ensure the railroads balance their focus on shareholders with their duty to provide high-quality common carrier rail service to the Nation.”