Attorney General Fox Encourages Montanans to Attend STB Rail Service Meetings
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced today that the Surface Transportation Board (STB)’s Rail Customer and Public Assistance program (RCPA) will be hosting a series of informal meetings with interested Montana shippers regarding railroad service delays on June 11 in Malta.
“Agriculture is an essential part of Montana’s economy. It contributes over two billion dollars to the state annually, and railroad service delays have a direct economic impact on Montana grain producers and our ag industry,” said Attorney General Fox. “Ag producers and other interested stakeholders have an important opportunity at this meeting to voice their concerns about delays. Whether their concerns are over delays they have already experienced or further delays in the shipment of fertilizer and other inputs, last year’s harvest and the coming harvest, it’s important that interested Montanans participate in this informal setting.”
The STB’s RCPA meetings will be held at the Great Northern Hotel, located at 2 South 1st Street, East, in Malta. To accommodate as many interested participants as possible, the individual meetings will be 30 minutes in length starting at 8:00 A.M., and ending at 5:00 P.M. Parties may also choose to meet with the RCPA staff in groups, if they prefer. Appointments can be made by emailing the Surface Transportation Board directly at [email protected]
Attorney General Fox added, “I appreciate STB’s efforts to meet with Montana shippers in order to improve rail service. Our staff will continue to monitor the situation and stands ready to work with the STB and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad to ensure all agricultural rail stakeholders receive the rail service they need to do business effectively.”
These meetings build upon the STB’s oversight of freight railroads and coincide with meetings the STB held with shippers in Fargo, North Dakota, as well as meetings in Sioux Falls, SD, and Bloomington, MN. There was also a hearing in Washington, D.C. in April regarding on-going rail service problems in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. Shippers and producers in the region have expressed concern about getting products to market and ensuring that ag industry items like fertilizer are available for spring seeding.