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The Surface Transportation Board (STB) will hold a public hearing Wednesday and Thursday to examine railroads' "revenue adequacy" and issues related to how the board calculates the railroad industry’s cost of equity capital.The hearing on revenue adequacy will explore how the board should regulate rail carriers that are revenue adequate. The STB determines annually whether a railroad is earning sufficient revenue to cover its costs and earn a reasonable return to attract capital.Speakers will include a panel representing the Association of American Railroads, including President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger. A panel representing Western Coal Traffic League also will speak.Meanwhile, the STB also reported the latest U.S. Class I workforce employment data. As of mid-June, the large U.S. railroads employed 172,327 people, down 0.36 percent from May’s level but up 3.72 percent compared with June 2014's count.On a month-over-month basis, the size of the following workforces levels rose in four of six categories: executives, officials and staff assistants, up 0.56 percent to 9,923; professional and administrative, up 3.26 percent to 14,652; maintenance of way and structures, up 0.14 percent to 38,618; and maintenance of equipment and transportation (other than train and engine), up 0.78 percent to 71,098. The number of maintenance of equipment and stores workers fell 0.54 percent to 31,307, and the number of transportation (train and engine) workers dropped 1.48 percent to 71,098.Year over year, five of the six categories increased: executives, officials and staff assistants, up 0.17 percent; professional and administrative, up 1.49 percent; MOW and structures, up 3.84 percent; maintenance of equipment and stores, up 4.57 percent; and transportation (train and engine), up 4.66 percent. The transportation (other than train and engine) category decreased 0.10 percent.
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