The U.S. Surface Transportation Board said Thursday it will hold a March 22 public hearing to explore the impact of Berkshire Hathaway's acquisition of the BNSF Railway in 2010 on certain costing determinations.
Berkshire, headed by the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, paid $43 billion to acquire BNSF.
STB said the Western Coal Traffic League (WCTL) and other parties argue that BNSF's acquisition price produced an $8.1 billion write-up in the railroad's net investment base for costing purposes under the STB's annual Uniform Rail Costing System (URCS) and revenue-adequacy findings for BNSF, and decreased BNSF's 2010 annual depreciation calculations by $128 million.
That could raise the rates that STB would find unreasonable if a shipper challenges the price a railroad is charging.
WCTL suggests STB should, starting with its 2010 findings, adjust BNSF's URCS costs by removing the $8.1 billion write-up and correspondingly adjusting the railroad's annual depreciation.