Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council
(a)Establishment; Membership.—There is established the Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council (in this section referred to as the “Council”) to be composed of 19 members, of which 15 members shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Board, after recommendation from rail carriers and shippers, within 60 days after December 29, 1995. The members of the Council shall be appointed as follows:
The members of the Council shall be appointed from among citizens of the United States who are not regular full-time employees of the United States and shall be selected for appointment so as to provide as nearly as practicable a broad representation of the various segments of the railroad and rail shipper industries.
(2) Nine of the members shall be appointed from senior executive officers of organizations engaged in the railroad and rail shipping industries, which 9 members shall be the voting members of the Council. Council action and Council positions shall be determined by a majority vote of the members present. A majority of such voting members shall constitute a quorum. Of such 9 voting members—
at least 4 shall be representative of small shippers (as determined by the Chairman); and
at least 4 shall be representative of Class II or III railroads.
(3) The remaining 6 members of the Council shall serve in a nonvoting advisory capacity only, but shall be entitled to participate in Council deliberations. Of the remaining members—
3 shall be representative of Class I railroads; and
3 shall be representative of large shipper organizations (as determined by the Chairman).
The Secretary of Transportation and the members of the Board shall serve as ex officio, nonvoting members of the Council. The Council shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act. A list of the members appointed to the Council shall be forwarded to the Chairmen and ranking members of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives.
Each ex officio member of the Council may designate an alternate, who shall serve as a member of the Council whenever the ex officio member is unable to attend a meeting of the Council. Any such designated alternate shall be selected from individuals who exercise significant decision-making authority in the Federal agency involved.
(b)Term of Office.—The members of the Council shall be appointed for a term of office of 3 years, except that of the members first appointed—
5 members shall be appointed for terms of 1 year; and
5 members shall be appointed for terms of 2 years,
as designated by the Chairman at the time of appointment. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring before the expiration of the term for which the member’s predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only for the remainder of such term. A member may serve after the expiration of his term until his successor has taken office. Vacancies on the Council shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointments were made. No member of the Council shall be eligible to serve in excess of two consecutive terms.
(c)Election and Duties of Officers.—
The Council Chairman and Vice Chairman and other appropriate officers of the Council shall be elected by and from the voting members of the Council. The Council Chairman shall serve as the Council’s executive officer and shall direct the administration of the Council, assign officer and committee duties, and shall be responsible for issuing and communicating the reports, policy positions and statements of the Council. In the event that the Council Chairman is unable to serve, the Vice Chairman shall act as Council Chairman.
The members of the Council shall receive no compensation for their services as such, but upon request by the Council Chairman, based on a showing of significant economic burden, the Secretary of Transportation or the Chairman of the Board, to the extent provided in advance in appropriation Acts, may provide reasonable and necessary travel expenses for such individual Council members from Department or Board funding sources in order to foster balanced representation on the Council.
Upon request by the Council Chairman, the Secretary or Chairman of the Board, to the extent provided in advance in appropriations Acts, may pay the reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by the Council in connection with the coordination of Council activities, announcement and reporting of meetings, and preparation of such Council documents as are required or permitted by this section.
The Council may solicit and use private funding for its activities, subject to this subsection.
Prior to making any Federal funding requests, the Council Chairman shall undertake best efforts to fund such activities privately unless the Council Chairman determines that such private funding would create a conflict of interest, or the appearance thereof, or is otherwise impractical. The Council Chairman shall not request funding from any Federal agency without providing written justification as to why private funding would create any such conflict or appearance, or is otherwise impractical.
(5) To enable the Council to carry out its functions—
the Council Chairman may request directly from any Federal agency such personnel, information, services, or facilities, on a compensated or uncompensated basis, as the Council Chairman determines necessary to carry out the functions of the Council;
each Federal agency may, in its discretion, furnish the Council with such information, services, and facilities as the Council Chairman may request to the extent permitted by law and within the limits of available funds; and
each Federal agency may, in its discretion, detail to temporary duty with the Council, such personnel as the Council Chairman may request for carrying out the functions of the Council, each such detail to be without loss of seniority, pay, or other employee status.
The Council shall meet at least semi-annually and shall hold other meetings at the call of the Council Chairman. Appropriate Federal facilities, where available, may be used for such meetings. Whenever the Council, or a committee of the Council, considers matters that affect the jurisdictional interests of Federal agencies that are not represented on the Council, the Council Chairman may invite the heads of such agencies, or their designees, to participate in the deliberations of the Council.
(f)Functions and Duties; Annual Report.—
The Council shall advise the Secretary, the Chairman, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate, and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives with respect to rail transportation policy issues it considers significant, with particular attention to issues of importance to small shippers and small railroads, including car supply, rates, competition, and effective procedures for addressing legitimate shipper and other claims.
To the extent the Council addresses specific grain car issues, it shall coordinate such activities with the National Grain Car Council. The Secretary and Chairman shall cooperate with the Council to provide research, technical and other reasonable support in developing any reports and policy statements required or authorized by this subsection.
The Council shall endeavor to develop within the private sector mechanisms to prevent, or identify and effectively address, obstacles to the most effective and efficient transportation system practicable.
(4) The Council shall prepare an annual report concerning its activities and the results of Council efforts to resolve industry issues, and propose whatever regulatory or legislative relief it considers appropriate. The Council shall include in the annual report such recommendations as it considers appropriate with respect to the performance of the Secretary and Chairman under this chapter, and with respect to the operation and effectiveness of meetings and industry developments relating to the Council’s efforts, and such other information as it considers appropriate. Such annual reports shall be reviewed by the Secretary and Chairman, and shall include the Secretary’s and Chairman’s views or comments relating to—
the accuracy of information therein;
Council efforts and reasonableness of Council positions and actions; and
any other aspects of the Council’s work as they may consider appropriate.
The Council may prepare other reports or develop policy statements as the Council considers appropriate. An annual report shall be submitted for each fiscal year and shall be submitted to the Secretary and Chairman within 90 days after the end of the fiscal year. Other such reports and statements may be submitted as the Council considers appropriate.
(Added Pub. L. 104–88, title II
, § 201(a), Dec. 29, 1995
, 109 Stat. 937
, § 726; amended Pub. L. 104–287
, § 5(7), Oct. 11, 1996
, 110 Stat. 3389
; renumbered § 1325, Pub. L. 114–110
, § 3(a)(6), Dec. 18, 2015
, 129 Stat. 2229
References in Text
The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (a)(4), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, as amended, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.
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