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Notice

Consolidated Rail Corporation-Abandonment Exemption-in Hudson County, NJ; CSX Transportation, Inc.-Discontinuance of Service Exemption-in Hudson County, NJ; Norfolk Southern Railway Company-Discontinuance of Service Exemption-in Hudson County, NJ

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Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail), CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT), and Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NS) (collectively, applicants) have jointly filed a verified notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1152 Subpart F—Exempt Abandonments and Discontinuances of Service for Conrail to abandon, and for CSXT and NS to discontinue service over, a 2.27-mile portion of a line of railroad known as the Lehigh Valley Main Line, between railroad milepost 2.90± and railroad milepost 5.17±, in Jersey City, Hudson County, NJ. The line traverses United States Postal Service Zip Codes 07304 and 07305.

Applicants have certified that: (1) No local traffic has moved over the line for at least 2 years; (2) any overhead traffic that has moved or could move over the line can be rerouted; (3) no formal complaint filed by a user of rail service on the line (or by a state or local government entity acting on behalf of such user) regarding cessation of service over the line either is pending with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) or with any U.S. District Court or has been decided in favor of a complainant within the 2-year period; and (4) the requirements at 49 CFR 1105.7 (environmental report), 49 CFR 1105.8 (historic report), 49 CFR 1105.11 (transmittal letter), 49 CFR 1105.12 (newspaper publication), and 49 CFR 1152.50(d)(1) (notice to governmental agencies) have been met.

As a condition to these exemptions, any employee adversely affected by the abandonment or discontinuances shall be protected under Oregon Short Line R. Co.—Abandonment-Goshen, 360 I.C.C. 91 (1979). To address whether this condition adequately protects affected employees, a petition for partial revocation under 49 U.S.C. 10502(d) must be filed.

Provided no formal expression of intent to file an offer of financial assistance (OFA) has been received, these exemptions will be effective on January 8, 2009, unless stayed pending reconsideration. Petitions to stay that do not involve environmental issues,[1] formal expressions of intent to file an OFA under 49 CFR 1152.27(c)(2),[2] and trail use/rail banking requests under 49 CFR 1152.29 must be filed by December 19, 2008. Petitions to reopen or requests for public use conditions under 49 CFR 1152.28 must be filed by December 29, 2008, with the Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20423-0001.

A copy of any petition filed with the Board should be sent to applicants' representative: John K. Enright, 1717 Arch Street, 32nd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

If the verified notice contains false or misleading information, the exemptions are void ab initio.

Applicants have filed a joint combined environmental and historic report, which addresses the effects, if any, of the abandonment and discontinuances on the environment and historic resources. SEA will issue an environmental assessment (EA) by December 12, 2008. Interested persons may obtain a copy of the EA by writing to SEA (Room 1100, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423-0001) or by calling SEA, at (202) 245-0305. [Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.] Comments on environmental and historic preservation matters must be filed within 15 days after the EA becomes available to the public.

Environmental, historic preservation, public use, or trail use/rail banking Start Printed Page 74802conditions will be imposed, where appropriate, in a subsequent decision.

Pursuant to the provisions of 49 CFR 1152.29(e)(2), Conrail shall file a notice of consummation with the Board to signify that it has exercised the authority granted and fully abandoned the line. If consummation has not been effected by Conrail's filing of a notice of consummation by December 9, 2009, and there are no legal or regulatory barriers to consummation, the authority to abandon will automatically expire.

Board decisions and notices are available on our Web site at www.stb.dot.gov.

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Decided: December 3, 2008.

By the Board, David M. Konschnik, Director, Office of Proceedings.

Kulunie L. Cannon,

Clearance Clerk.

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Footnotes

1.  The Board will grant a stay if an informed decision on environmental issues (whether raised by a party or by the Board's Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) in its independent investigation) cannot be made before the abandonment exemption's effective date. See Exemption of Out-of-Service Rail Lines, 5 I.C.C.2d 377 (1989). Any request for a stay should be filed as soon as possible so that the Board may take appropriate action before the exemption's effective date.

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2.  Effective July 18, 2008, the filing fee for an OFA increased to $1,500. See Regulations Governing Fees for Services Performed in Connection with Licensing and Related Services-2008 Update, STB Ex Parte No. 542 (Sub-No. 15) (STB served June 18, 2008).

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[FR Doc. E8-29066 Filed 12-8-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4915-01-P