|SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD DECISION DOCUMENT|
|CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC.--ABANDONMENT EXEMPTION--IN JEFFERSON COUNTY, ALA.|
|Director Of Proceedings|
|DECISION GRANTED (1) THE CITY OF FULTONDALE, ALABAMA'S REQUEST FOR AN ADDITIONAL 180-DAY NOTICE OF INTERIM TRAIL USE OR ABANDONMENT NEGOTIATING PERIOD; AND (2) GRANTED CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC.'S REQUEST TO EXTEND THE TIME TO EXERCISE ITS ABANDONMENT AUTHORITY IN THIS PROCEEDING.|
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|Full Text of Decision|
41103 SERVICE DATE – OCTOBER 8, 2010
SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD
Docket No. AB 55 (Sub-No. 613X)
CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC.––ABANDONMENT EXEMPTION––
Decided: October 6, 2010
CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT) filed a notice of exemption under 49 C.F.R. pt. 1152 subpart F–Exempt Abandonments to abandon a 16.47-mile rail line extending from milepost ONC 384.00 at Black Creek to milepost ONJ 400.47 at West Jefferson, in Jefferson County, Ala. Notice of the exemption was served and published in the Federal Register on September 22, 2003 (68 Fed. Reg. 55,085).
By decision and notice of interim trail use or abandonment (NITU) served October 21, 2003, the proceeding was reopened and a 180-day period was authorized for the Jefferson County Commission (County) to negotiate an interim trail use/rail banking agreement with CSXT for the right-of-way involved in this proceeding pursuant to the National Trails System Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1247(d) (Trails Act). The trail use negotiation period under the NITU was extended several times, with the decision served April 5, 2007, extending the negotiation period until October 3, 2007.
By decision served on October 2, 2007, the Board vacated the NITU served on October 21, 2003, and issued a replacement NITU substituting the City of Fultondale, Ala. (the City), as the interim trail use proponent in lieu of the County with respect to the 16.47-mile line. The Board also authorized a new, 180-day negotiation period for the City and CSXT, extending from October 2, 2007, until March 30, 2008.
By a series of decisions, the most recent served on March 30, 2010, the trail use negotiation period under the NITU was extended to September 16, 2010. These decisions also extended the consummation notice filing deadline until November 15, 2010. In this decision, the Board is granting the requests by the City to extend the NITU negotiating period and by CSXT to extend the time for it to exercise the abandonment authority.
On September 15, 2010, the City submitted a request for an additional 180-day extension of the negotiating period. The City states that, during this last extension period, pursuant to an executed Right-of-Entry Agreement, the parties have received the right-of-entry and completed the environmental testing. The City also states that the request for the 180-day extension is needed to complete the negotiations.
By letter dated September 16, 2010, CSXT has concurred in the request to extend the negotiating period until March 15, 2011. Additionally, CSXT has requested an extension of the consummation notice filing deadline until May 14, 2011.
Where, as here, the carrier has not consummated the abandonment
at the end of the previously imposed negotiating period and is willing to
continue trail use negotiations, the Board retains jurisdiction and the NITU
negotiating period may be extended. Under the circumstances, further extension of
the negotiating period is warranted. See
Birt v. STB, 90 F.3d 580, 588-90 (D.C. Cir. 1996);
This decision will not significantly affect either the quality of the human environment or the conservation of energy resources.
It is ordered:
1. The requests by the City for an additional 180-day NITU negotiating period and by CSXT to extend the time to exercise its abandonment authority are granted.
2. The negotiating period under the NITU is extended to March 15, 2011.
3. The authority to abandon must be exercised on or before May 14, 2011.
4. This decision is effective on its date of service.
By the Board, Rachel D. Campbell, Director, Office of Proceedings.
 That decision also imposed an environmental condition that remains in effect.
 Under 49 C.F.R. § 1152.29(e)(2), a railroad may, for good cause shown, file a request for an extension of time to file a notice of consummation in abandonment proceedings.
 See Rail Abans.–Use-of-Rights-of-Way as Trails–Supplemental Trails Act Procedures, 4 I.C.C.2d 152, 157-58 (1987).