Bipartisan Group of Senators Express Concern Over Potential Hike in Shipping Rates

Several U.S. senators, led by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., have asked federal regulators to make sure that an investment giant’s purchase of BNSF Railway Co. does not saddle shippers with unfair costs.  Specifically, Sen. Franken, along with Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; Tim Johnson, D-S.D.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; and David Vitter, R-La, told the Surface Transportation Board that Berkshire Hathaway violated the board’s multiple carrier rules because it owned two other railroads when it bought BNSF for $43 billion in 2010.  Although Berkshire has since dissociated itself from two smaller lines, it still wants to include an $8 billion premium that it paid for BNSF in the railroad’s asset base.  This move, the senators say, could artificially inflate the railroad’s books and result in increased rates passed on to shippers.  Currently the STB is reviewing the case.  Click here to read more.

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