Shipper Rail Rates:

Interstate Commerce Commission's Handling of Complaints

RCED-86-54FS: Published: Jan 30, 1986. Publicly Released: Jan 30, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO prepared a fact sheet on the major issues related to the Interstate Commerce Commission's (ICC) implementation of the Staggers Rail Act, specifically: (1) the current case-load-to-completion-time ratio; (2) the ratio of cases settled in favor of railroads over those settled in favor of shippers; (3) the total revenue gained and projected income from the current $500 filing fee; (4) the total administrative costs involved in processing a complaint; (5) the number of rate changes instituted in the last 4 years; and (6) the number of rate hearings that have been held in the last 4 years and the number of these that have been public.

GAO found that ICC: (1) does not maintain data on the case-load-to-completion-time-ratio, but it must complete all evidentiary proceedings for a complaint case within 180 days after the case is assigned to the official hearing the case, who has 120 days to make a decision; (2) determined that, in 81 identified cases, the railroads' rates were reasonable in 66 percent of the cases and unreasonable in 16 percent of the cases, with the remaining cases pending or having been dismissed; (3) has received $3,500 in revenues from the filing fee and estimated that it would receive about $5,000 annually; (4) total administrative costs for processing a complaint in 1985 were $2,394.05; (5) does not maintain a record of rate increases; (6) held 10 hearings in 1985, 9 in 1984, and has no data on hearings held prior to 1984; and (7) hearings are always open to the public.

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