President Trump said he planned to nominate Senate Commerce Committee senior staff member Patrick Fuchs and attorney Michelle Schultz of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to five-year terms as members of the Surface Transportation Board.
The STB is an independent regulatory agency that oversees economic issues in the nation's freight rail system, including disputes between railroads and with shippers that generate the cargoes those carriers haul. The five-member, bipartisan board has jurisdiction over railroad rates, mergers, service, line acquisitions, new rail-line construction, line abandonments and other issues.
The White House announcement noted that Fuchs has worked on surface transportation and maritime issues under the leadership of Commerce Chairman John Thune, R-S.D. He "played an integral role in the development and enactment of major railroad legislation," it said, including the 2015 reauthorization of the STB and the 2015 passenger rail reauthorization. Earlier, it continued, Fuchs was a policy analyst and "presidential management fellow" at the Office of Management and Budget, where he managed railroad and maritime regulatory reviews.
Thune issued a statement saying that while he would miss the aide's expertise at the committee, at the STB "railroads and their customers will benefit from his sense of fairness and his talent that we utilized over the past three years at the Commerce Committee to help pass legislation reauthorizing passenger railroad service, making resources available to improve safety, and reforming the Surface Transportation Board."
The White House said Schultz has been at SEPTA since 2006, where she is a deputy general counsel. She previously was an associate with a law firm in Philadelphia, and had clerked for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
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