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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on railroad abandonments, focusing on: (1) the amount of mileage railroads attempted to abandon; (2) shippers' and local officials' perspectives on the abandonment process; and (3) shippers' views on the effects of rail abandonments on their operations.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Interstate Commerce Commission 1. Given the ICC regulatory requirement that the Office of Public Assistance (OPA) ensure that all aspects of proceedings are fully developed and that shippers be adequately informed of ICC assistance, ICC should modify its regulations to require that rail-user communities be informed of assistance available to protesters when railroads first notify ICC of their intent to abandon a branch line. Furthermore, OPA should be charged with this notification responsibility. The ICC Office of Hearings should also refer to available assistance in its Notice of Hearings if ICC decides to investigate a case set for oral hearing.
Closed - Not Implemented
ICC does not plan any change in its current procedures.

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