Surface Transportation Board (STB) Vice Chairman Daniel R. Elliott III announced he will leave the Board September 30, 2017. He informed President Donald J. Trump of his plans by letter.
Vice Chairman Elliott was appointed Chairman by President Barack Obama and joined the Board on August 13, 2009, following his Senate confirmation. He served as STB Chairman until December 31, 2014, and returned for a second term on June 26, 2015. He served as Chairman until January 25, 2017, when President Trump designated Ann D. Begeman as Acting Chairman.
“It has been an honor to serve the United States at the Surface Transportation Board. My tenure as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the agency has brought both rewards and challenges, but most of all an appreciation for the sophisticated rail transportation industry and its shippers that serve as the backbone of our nation’s economy,” Elliott said. “A lot has occurred since I first joined the Board, from new regulatory proposals to becoming independent from the Department of Transportation. But one thing has remained constant, and that is the distinguished group of professionals and good people at the agency that I have had the privilege of working with for the last eight years.
“During the six years that I have worked with Dan, I have always appreciated his genuine dedication and commitment to the Board’s work and to the transportation community—both shippers and railroads alike,” said STB Acting Chairman Begeman. “I particularly admire the respectful manner by which Dan treats everyone he meets. I will miss having Dan as a colleague, but wish him much success as he enters the next new phase of his career.”
STB Member Deb Miller said, “When I first came to the Board, the agency was in the midst of several difficult issues and as the Chairman at the time, Dan helped me quickly transition into my new role. Since then, the Board has undertaken a number of important regulatory initiatives in which he was instrumental. Dan will be missed at the Board, and I wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Prior to his appointment to the STB, Elliott worked in the UTU’s legal department.
President Donald J. Trump has appointed Ann Begeman to serve as Acting Chairman of the Surface Transportation Board (STB). Begeman is currently serving a second, five-year term as a Member of the Board following her recent nomination by President Barack Obama Dec. 7, 2016, and her unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate Dec. 9, 2016. Ann first joined the Board May 2, 2011. Her current term expires Dec. 31, 2020.
“It is an honor to serve the public on the Board, and I am grateful to President Trump for the opportunity to lead the agency at this time,” said Begeman. “I look forward to continuing the important mission of the STB in my new capacity as Acting Chairman, working with the new Administration, my fellow Board Members, Daniel Elliott and Deb Miller, our dedicated agency staff, and our important stakeholders. I also wish to recognize former Chairman Daniel Elliott for his service and leadership, and his sincere efforts to facilitate a smooth transition during the change in administrations.”
Prior to her 2011 appointment, Begeman held Senate staff positions on Capitol Hill for more than 20 years, playing a key role in the crafting of major transportation legislation, including the ICC Termination Act, which created the STB. She served as the Republican Staff Director for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation under the leadership of U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and as the Committee’s Deputy Staff Director and Transportation Policy Advisor under the leadership of U.S. Senator John McCain. Begeman has also served as Legislative Director and Acting Chief of Staff for Senator John McCain and as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Larry Pressler. She has also worked in the private sector, serving as a benefits specialist for First American Bankshares, Inc.
Begeman is a native of Humboldt, South Dakota. She earned a B.S. in business administration from the University of South Dakota.
The Senate on June 22 easily confirmed the nomination of Daniel Elliott for a reappointment on the Surface Transportation Board.
Elliott’s nomination was confirmed by voice vote. During his confirmation hearing, Elliott said he would ensure the board continues “to facilitate the resolution of service issues so that interstate commerce flows as smoothly and efficiently as possible in support of the U.S. economy.”
Elliott was a lawyer with the United Transportation Union. He was the board’s chairman from 2009 until December, when his term expired.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Weeks after calling for a study of the potential for increased service along Amtrak’s Chicago to Carbondale route, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is holding a hearing in Champaign Wednesday on freight train interference along the corridor.
The meeting between Surface Transportation Board Chairman Dan Elliott, Amtrak board member Tom Carper and local officials is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Illinois Terminal in downtown Champaign. The Illinois Terminal is the local Amtrak station.
NEW YORK – Former UTU Associate General Counsel Dan Elliott, now chairman of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board — the federal agency regulating rail mergers, line sales, abandonments and labor protection — returned to his roots July 4, speaking to more than 500 UTU officers and members attending the union’s eastern regional meeting here.
Terming train and engine workers “the unsung heroes” of the freight railroad industry’s renaissance, Elliott said, “None [of the resurgence] would have been possible without the people in this room. Labor was a major contributor to the rebirth of the rail industry as productivity shot through the roof [since Congress partially deregulated railroads through the Staggers Rail Act of 1980]. This is all thanks to your working harder, smarter and better,” he said.
Elliott recalled that prior to partial deregulation afforded by the Staggers Act, railroad bankruptcies were increasing, track often was in such poor repair that there were standing derailments, service quality had deteriorated and job security was problematic.
The Staggers Act, said Elliott, set loose market forces, giving railroads “greater flexibility to make decisions, develop better ideas and operate more efficiently. There are fewer trucks on the highway and the United States has some of the lowest freight rates in the world. It has all been done with private investment.” He said his job and the job of the STB is to “make sure the industry stays healthy.”
As for his elevation to the STB – which required a nomination by President Obama and confirmation by the Senate — Elliott said, joking, it was something he had long sought. Reflecting on an early-career appearance before the STB’s predecessor agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission, Elliott recalled having to make a difficult argument seeking labor protection.
“I was told to say my piece and sit down. So I went to Washington to the ICC Building. There were scores of railroad attorneys, a press table and spectators. I said my piece. And the chairman asked me to explain why UTU members should have lifetime income protection when nobody else in the room had it. I knew right then and there that I wanted to be the one asking the questions and not answering them,” Elliott said.