ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, US — The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) along with 50 other agriculture organizations are urging the US Senate to approve the nomination of Karen Hedlund to the US Surface Transportation Board (STB) after the Senate Commerce Committee favorably reported the nomination.

Karen Hedlund, vice president and national rail strategy advisor at WSP USA. Photo courtesy of Triple America I.

In an Aug. 3 letter to committee leaders, the ag organizations noted that over the last few years the STB has developed momentum in attempting to create more rail-on-rail competition and a more streamlined method for freight rail customers to challenge unreasonable rates.

“The ability of the STB to follow through and pursue a modern and more balanced approach is dependent upon it having members that are knowledgeable and objective,” the groups said, adding that Hedlund “exemplifies these principles.”

Hedlund is a graduate of Harvard University and Georgetown University and has rail transportation experience having served as the Federal Railroad Administration’s deputy administrator and chief counsel and as the Federal Highway Administration’s chief counsel. Currently, she is vice president and national rail strategy adviser at WSP USA, where she works with federal, state and local transportation agencies as well as private companies to facilitate financing and development of transportation projects.

US President Joe Biden nominated Hedlund earlier this year to replace Anne Begeman, who is serving her eleventh year at the STB. According to the NGFA, senate confirmation of Hedlund will allow the STB to retain its full complement of five members, as set by the STB Reauthorization Act of 2015.