Commission issues orders in rail cases
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission recently issued final orders in two railroad-related cases.
The commission said it would not object to a petition before the U.S. Surface Transportation Board by Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad to abandon 0.2 miles of rail line near downtown Moscow. The rail line and right-of-way generally runs between College Street/8th Street and the new bridge on U.S. Highway 95, in the southern part of downtown and to the east of the University of Idaho campus. The railroad said the rail line, which is impeding commercial development in the area, was used by only one car during 2006 and the shipper, Moscow Idaho Seed Company, has since closed. A parallel rail line will remain active.
“Based upon the record in this case including the testimony offered at the public hearing, the lack of any intervenors and the lack of objections, we find that Idaho shippers will not be adversely affected by the abandonment,” the commission said. The U.S. Surface Transportation Board will make the final decision on abandonment.
The commission also granted BG&CM Railroad’s petition to decrease its annual regulatory fee. BG&CM Railroad operates portions of the previous Camas Prairie Railroad’s Grangeville branch line that runs from Cottonwood to Spalding.
The assessment that utilities and railroads must pay the commission is based on a percentage of gross operating revenues. BG&CM stated it over-reported its gross intrastate operating revenue by inadvertently including operating revenues from another railroad. The railroad claims that by over-reporting its operating revenues its assessment was $5,087.76. The commission approved an adjusted assessment of $1,820.76.