Attorney Leonard M. Singer, Boston, MA  (617) 737-7670  (www.LeonardMSinger.com)

Excerpt from:

49 U.S.C. 10904. Offers of financial assistance to avoid abandonment and discontinuance

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(c) Within 4 months after an application is filed under section 10903, any person may offer to subsidize or purchase the railroad line that is the subject of such application. Such offer shall be filed concurrently with the Board. If the offer to subsidize or purchase is less than the carrier’s estimate stated pursuant to subsection (b)(1), the offer shall explain the basis of the disparity, and the manner in which the offer is calculated.

(d)

(1) Unless the Board, within 15 days after the expiration of the 4-month period described in subsection (c), finds that one or more financially responsible persons (including a governmental authority) have offered financial assistance regarding that part of the railroad line to be abandoned or over which all rail transportation is to be discontinued, abandonment or discontinuance may be carried out in accordance with section 10903.

(2) If the Board finds that such an offer or offers of financial assistance has been made within such period, abandonment or discontinuance shall be postponed until—

(A) the carrier and a financially responsible person have reached agreement on a transaction for subsidy or sale of the line; or

(B) the conditions and amount of compensation are established under subsection (f).

(e) Except as provided in subsection (f)(3), if the rail carrier and a financially responsible person (including a governmental authority) fail to agree on the amount or terms of the subsidy or purchase, either party may, within 30 days after the offer is made, request that the Board establish the conditions and amount of compensation.

(f)

(1) Whenever the Board is requested to establish the conditions and amount of compensation under this section—

(A) the Board shall render its decision within 30 days;

(B) for proposed sales, the Board shall determine the price and other terms of sale, except that in no case shall the Board set a price which is below the fair market value of the line (including, unless otherwise mutually agreed, all facilities on the line or portion necessary to provide effective transportation services); and

(C) for proposed subsidies, the Board shall establish the compensation as the difference between the revenues attributable to that part of the railroad line and the avoidable cost of providing rail freight transportation on the line, plus a reasonable return on the value of the line.

(2) The decision of the Board shall be binding on both parties, except that the person who has offered to subsidize or purchase the line may withdraw his offer within 10 days of the Board’s decision. In such a case, the abandonment or discontinuance may be carried out immediately, unless other offers are being considered pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection.

(3) If a rail carrier receives more than one offer to subsidize or purchase, it shall select the offeror with whom it wishes to transact business, and complete the subsidy or sale agreement, or request that the Board establish the conditions and amount of compensation before the 40th day after the expiration of the 4-month period described in subsection (c).

If no agreement on subsidy or sale is reached within such 40-day period and the Board has not been requested to establish the conditions and amount of compensation, any other offeror whose offer was made within the 4-month period described in subsection (c) may request that the Board establish the conditions and amount of compensation. If the Board has established the conditions and amount of compensation, and the original offer has been withdrawn, any other offeror whose offer was made within the 4-month period described in subsection (c) may accept the Board’s decision within 20 days after such decision, and the Board shall require the carrier to enter into a subsidy or sale agreement with such offeror, if such subsidy or sale agreement incorporates the Board’s decision.

(4)

(A) No purchaser of a line or portion of line sold under this section may transfer or discontinue service on such line prior to the end of the second year after consummation of the sale, nor may such purchaser transfer such line, except to the rail carrier from whom it was purchased, prior to the end of the fifth year after consummation of the sale.

(B) No subsidy arrangement approved under this section shall remain in effect for more than one year, unless otherwise mutually agreed by the parties.

Do not act or rely upon this statute without ensuring that it is up to date and without seeking professional legal advice.