[Federal Register Volume 88, Number 101 (Thursday, May 25, 2023)]
[Pages 33955-33956]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2023-11198]



30-Day Notice of Intent To Seek Extension of Approval of 
Collection: Rail Depreciation Studies

AGENCY: Surface Transportation Board.

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.


SUMMARY: As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the 
Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) gives notice of its intent 
to seek approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for an 
extension of the collection of Rail Depreciation Studies, described 

DATES: Comments on this information collection should be submitted by 
June 26, 2023.

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be identified as ``Paperwork 
Reduction Act Comments, Surface Transportation Board, Rail Depreciation 
Studies.'' Written comments for the proposed information collection 
should be submitted via www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. This 
information collection can be accessed by selecting ``Currently under 
Review--Open for Public Comments'' or by using the

[[Page 33956]]

search function. As an alternative, written comments may be directed to 
the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs, Attention: Michael J. McManus, Surface 
Transportation Board Desk Officer: via email at 
[email protected]; by fax at (202) 395-1743; or by mail to 
Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20503.
    Please also direct all comments to Chris Oehrle, PRA Officer, 
Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20423-
0001, or to [email protected]. When submitting comments, please refer to 
``Paperwork Reduction Act Comments, Rail Depreciation Studies.'' For 
further information regarding this collection, contact Pedro Ramirez at 
(202) 245-0333 or [email protected]. Assistance for the hearing 
impaired is available through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Board previously published a notice 
about this collection in the Federal Register (88 FR 16512 (March 17, 
2023)). That notice allowed for a 60-day public review and comment 
period. No comments were received.
    Comments are requested concerning each collection as to (1) whether 
the particular collection of information is necessary for the proper 
performance of the functions of the Board, including whether the 
collection has practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the Board's 
burden estimates; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity 
of the information collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of 
the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of 
automated collection techniques or other forms of information 
technology, when appropriate. Submitted comments will be included and 
summarized in the Board's request for OMB approval.
    Subjects: In this notice, the Board is requesting comments on the 
extension of the following information collection:

Description of Collection

    Title: Rail Depreciation Studies.
    OMB Control Number: 2140-0028.
    Form Number: None.
    Type of Review: Extension without change.
    Respondents: Class I railroads.
    Number of Respondents: Seven.
    Estimated Time per Response: Approximately 250 hours per study 
(estimating that studies will require between 125 hours and 375 hours 
depending on the extent to which the carrier provides assistance to 
outside consultants performing the study for them).
    Frequency of Response: Bi-annual. (Under 49 CFR part 1201, sections 
4-1 to 4-4, the Board requires all Class I (large) carriers to submit 
depreciation studies no less frequently than every three years for 
equipment property and every six years for road property. That means 
that for any given six-year period, the Class I railroads must submit 
no fewer than three depreciation reports, or the equivalent of 0.5 
depreciation reports per year.)
    Total Annual Hour Burden: 875 hours (250 hours x 0.5 studies/year x 
7 Class I railroads).
    Total Annual ``Non-Hour Burden'' Cost: Approximately $210,000 per 
year. Board staff estimates that each biennial study will cost between 
$20,000 and $100,000 to reflect recent price escalation, which converts 
to an annual cost of approximately $10,000-$50,000 per year. Using an 
average cost ($30,000 per year X 7 Class I railroads), the non-hour 
burden cost is estimated to be approximately $210,000 per year.
    Needs and Uses: Under 49 CFR part 1201, sections 4-1 to 4-4, the 
Board is required to identify those classes of property for which rail 
carriers may include depreciation charges under operating expenses, and 
the Board must also prescribe a rate of depreciation that may be 
charged to those classes of property. Under 49 U.S.C. 11145, Class I 
rail carriers are required to submit Depreciation Studies to the Board. 
Information in these studies is not available from any other source. 
The Board uses the information in these studies to prescribe 
depreciation rates. These depreciation rate prescriptions state the 
period for which the depreciation rates therein are applicable. Class I 
railroads apply the prescribed depreciation rates to their investment 
base to determine monthly and annual depreciation expense. This expense 
is included in the railroads' operating expenses, which are reported in 
their R-1 reports (OMB Control Number 2140-0009). Operating expenses 
are used to develop operating costs for application in various 
proceedings before the Board, such as in rate reasonableness cases and 
in the determination of railroad ``revenue adequacy.''
    Under the PRA, a Federal agency that conducts or sponsors a 
collection of information must display a currently valid OMB control 
number. A collection of information, which is defined in 44 U.S.C. 
3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c), includes agency requirements that persons 
submit reports, keep records, or provide information to the agency, 
third parties, or the public. Section 3507(b) of the PRA requires, 
concurrent with an agency's submitting a collection to OMB for 
approval, a 30-day notice and comment period through publication in the 
Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, 
including each proposed extension of an existing collection of 
    Information from certain schedules contained in these reports is 
available at the Board's website at www.stb.gov by navigating to 
``Reports & Data'' and clicking on ``Economic Data.'' Information in 
these reports is not available from any other source.

    Dated: May 22, 2023.
Stefan Rice,
Clearance Clerk.
[FR Doc. 2023-11198 Filed 5-24-23; 8:45 am]