Surface Transportation Board

Surface Transportation Board in the United States

The STB is a three-member board created as part of the Department of Transportation to take over when the Interstate Commerce Commission was dissolved on January 1, 1996. The STB’s job is to regulate railroads, pipeline carriers, inter-city bus carriers, and several other kinds of “carriers.”

Legal Materials

STB decisions, notices, filings and publications are posted on the STB’s Web site (

Lexis has a database of STB decisions issued from 1996 to the present (TRANSSTB). Westlaw has ICC and STB from 1976 to the present, including non-precedential, unpublished “no print” decisions starting in 1986 (FTRAN-STB). Old motor carrier orders, agreements, decisions and opinions from March 1974 through May 1998 are available on Lexis (TRANS;MCC).

Further Description

The Surface Transportation Board was established in 1996 by the Interstate
Commerce Commission (ICC) Termination Act of 1995 (49 U.S.C.
10101 et seq.) as an independent adjudicatory body organizationally
housed within the Department of Transportation with jurisdiction over
certain surface transportation economic regulatory matters formerly under ICC
jurisdiction. The Board consists of three members, appointed by the President
with the advice and consent of the Senate for 5-year terms.

The Board adjudicates disputes and regulates interstate surface transportation
through various laws pertaining to the different modes of surface transportation.

The Board’s general responsibilities include the oversight of ?rms engaged in
transportation in interstate and foreign commerce to the extent that it takes place
within the United States, or between or among points in the contiguous United
States and points in Alaska, Hawaii, or U.S. Territories or possessions. Surface
transportation matters under the Board’s jurisdiction in general include railroad
rate and service issues, rail restructuring transactions (mergers, line sales, line
construction, and line abandonments), and labor matters related thereto; certain
trucking company, moving van, and noncontiguous ocean shipping company rate matters; certain intercity passenger bus company structure, financial, and operational matters; and certain pipeline matters not regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In performing its functions, the Board is charged with promoting, where appropriate, substantive and procedural regulatory reform and providing an ef?cient and effective forum for the resolution of disputes. Through the granting of exemptions from regulations
where warranted, the streamlining of its decisionmaking process and the
regulations applicable thereto, and the consistent and fair application of legal
and equitable principles, the Board seeks to provide an effective forum for ef?cient
dispute resolution and facilitation of appropriate market-based business
transactions. Through rulemakings and case disposition, it strives to develop new
and better ways to analyze unique and complex problems, to reach fully justi?e
decisions more quickly, to reduce the costs associated with regulatory
oversight, and to encourage private sector negotiations and resolutions to problems,
where appropriate.

For further information, contact the Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs, and Compliance, Surface Transportation Board, Washington. The Internet address is

See Also


Surface Transportation Board: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Surface Transportation Board. This part provides references, in relation to Surface Transportation Board, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Surface Transportation Board by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Surface Transportation Board and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Surface Transportation Board or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Surface Transportation Board and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Surface Transportation Board. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Surface Transportation Board should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Surface Transportation Board when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

Leave a Comment