Comments filed November 7th, 2023 – Reciprocal Switching for Inadequate Service – Docket No. EP711 – Sub. No. 2

NITL Files Comments with The Fertilizer Institute and American Chemistry Council. The NPRM closed Docket No. EP 711 (Sub-No. 1) (“Sub-Docket No. 1”), which had proposed regulations that would provide reciprocal switching pursuant to the standards in 49 U.S.C. § 11102(c) when “practicable and in the public interest, or where such agreements are necessary to provide competitive rail service.” In its place, the Board has opened this new sub[1]docket to provide for reciprocal switching solely to address “inadequate rail service” under the public interest standard of § 11102(c). The scope of the NPRM is much narrower than the scope sought by The NITL in its Petition for Rulemaking in Ex Parte No. 7112 and in the Board’s notice of proposed rulemaking in Sub-Docket No. 1.3 Both proposals sought to implement the full scope of § 11102(c) by enhancing rail competition through reciprocal switching. It is through such competition that the Coalition Associations remain convinced that service inadequacies can be most effectively addressed. Moreover, rail competition also fosters reasonable rates, balanced commercial terms, greater innovation, and increased efficiency, which in turn furthers multiple aspects of the national Rail Transportation Policies.4 Nevertheless, the NPRM proposes regulations that have the potential to be a significant improvement over the existing standards for reciprocal switching and have the support of the Coalition Associations with the modifications proposed herein.

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