This chapter applies to the transportation of passengers and property between points within this state, and to the receiving, switching, delivering, storing and handling of such property, and to all water carrier charges connected therewith, and applies to all common carriers engaged in the transportation of passengers or property wholly by rail or partly by rail and partly by water, and to all common carriers of property wholly by water which operate between fixed end points, but shall not apply to transportation of property by water under contract as a private carrier.
This chapter shall not apply to private railroads that are not common carriers.
Each provision of this chapter applies only to the extent that it is not contrary to or inconsistent with federal law or the constitution of the United States.
“Water carrier" means a common or contract carrier of property by water that operates between fixed end points, but does not include a water carrier under common control with a railroad when transporting freight for continuous carriage or shipment. In this chapter, “common carrier," with respect to a water carrier, includes a contract carrier other than a private contract carrier.
See also RR
, Wis. adm. code.
Office; powers and duties, general enumeration. 195.03(1)(1)
The office may take testimony and administer oaths and may promulgate rules to govern its proceedings and to regulate the mode and manner of all hearings. All hearings shall be open to the public.
(2) Office initiative.
In any matter within its jurisdiction under ch. 192
or this chapter, the office may initiate, investigate and order a hearing at its discretion upon such notice as it considers proper.
(7) Study railroad and water carrier business, demand information.
The office may inquire into the management of the business of all railroads and water carriers, and shall keep itself informed as to the manner in which the same is conducted, and may obtain from any railroad or water carrier all necessary information to enable the office to perform the duties and carry out the objects for which it is responsible.
(8) Questionnaires, answers compulsory.
The office shall prepare forms for the purpose of obtaining the information which it may deem necessary or useful to the proper exercise of its functions, which shall conform as nearly as practicable to the forms prescribed by the federal railroad administration, federal surface transportation board, or other applicable federal agency or authority, and shall furnish the forms to railroads and water carriers, and every railroad and water carrier receiving the forms shall cause the forms to be properly completed and verified under oath by its proper officer and returned to the office within the time fixed by the office.
(9) Examine books and files of railroads and water carriers.
The commissioner of railroads or any person employed by the office for that purpose shall, upon demand, have the right to inspect the books and papers of any railroad or water carrier and to examine under oath any officer, agent or employee of such railroad or water carrier in relation to its business and affairs; provided that any person other that the commissioner of railroads who makes such demand shall produce his or her authority under the hand and seal of the office.
(10) Production of records and files kept out of state.
The office may, by an order or subpoena to be served in the manner that a circuit court summons is served, require the production within this state, at such time and place as it may designate, of any books, papers or accounts kept by any railroad or water carrier without the state, or verified copies in lieu thereof, if the office shall so order.
(11) Uniform system of accounting.
The office may prescribe a uniform system of keeping and rendering accounts of all railroad and water carrier business transacted in this state, and the time within which railroads and water carriers shall adopt such system; provided that all forms of accounts which may be prescribed by the office shall conform to any applicable requirement under 49 USC 11141
or 49 CFR 1201
and, as nearly as practicable, to similar forms prescribed by federal authority.
(12) Time for filing water carrier rate tariffs.
The office shall fix the time for filing water carrier schedules relative to the transportation of passengers and property and of any service in connection therewith.
(13) Schedule forms.
The office may prescribe the forms for water carrier schedules.
(14) Passes to shippers.
The office may prescribe regulations for free transportation of attendants upon shipments of livestock.
(15) Elevators and warehouses.
The office may prescribe rules and regulations covering the charges and manner of conducting the business of public elevators and warehouses upon railroad ground.
(16) Car service.
The office may make reasonable regulations for furnishing cars to shippers, and for moving, loading and unloading cars and for weighing cars and freight, and to test railroad weights and scales used in weighing freight or cars.
(17) Private tracks.
The office shall have control of private railroad tracks insofar as the same are used by common carriers for the transportation of freight, in all respects the same as though such tracks were part of a public railroad.
(18) Safety devices.
The office may make reasonable rules, regulations, specifications and standards for the installation, operation and maintenance of all safety devices and measures.
(19) Railroad and water carrier structures.
The office may order the repair or reconstruction of any inadequate or unsafe railroad track or water carrier structure.
(25) Distribution of orders.
The office shall upon application furnish certified copies, under its seal, of any order made by it, which shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein.
The office may sue and be sued in that name, and may confer with or participate in any proceedings before any regulatory agency of any other state or of the federal government.
(29) Train privileges.
The employees authorized by the office to perform railroad inspection duties may, in the performance of such duties, ride in and upon any engine, car or train of any class, of any railroad, upon payment of the lawful passenger fare, but such railroad shall not thereby be deemed to become a common carrier of passengers other than on passenger cars.
The office shall give the department of natural resources the office's opinion on whether the snowmobile crossing should be closed or removed in testimony at the hearing under s. 350.1395 (2) (b) 2.
or in a written report for introduction into the hearing record.
Complaints, investigation, hearings, notice. 195.04(1)(1)
Upon complaint of any person, including any state agency, water carrier, or railroad, either relating to a railroad as provided under s. 192.324
, 195.28 (1)
, 195.285 (1)
, 195.29 (1)
, or (6)
, or 195.32
or that any water carrier rate, fare, charge, or classification or any regulation or practice whatever affecting the transportation of persons or property, or any service in connection therewith, is in any respect unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory or that any service is inadequate, the office may investigate the complaint and shall set the complaint for hearing. No order may be entered by the office without a public hearing, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
The office shall, prior to any hearing, notify the water carrier or railroad complained of that a complaint has been made, and 20 days after such notice has been given the office may proceed to set a time and place for a hearing.
The office shall give the water carrier or railroad and the complainant 20 days' notice of the hearing and the matters to be considered and determined. Both the water carrier or railroad and the complainant shall be entitled to be heard and shall have process to enforce the attendance of witnesses.
The notice provided for in subs. (2)
may be combined but if combined the notice shall not be less than 20 days.
See also ch. RR 1
, Wis. adm. code.
Separate rate hearings; absence of direct damage.
The office may, when complaint is made of more than one water carrier rate or charge, order separate hearings thereon, and may consider and determine the several matters complained of separately and at such times as it may prescribe. No complaint shall at any time be dismissed because of the absence of direct damage to the complainant.
Whenever the office believes that any water carrier rate or charge may be unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory or that any service is inadequate or cannot be obtained or that an investigation of any matter relating to any water carrier or, if a matter arising under s. 192.324
, 195.28 (1)
, 195.285 (1)
, 195.29 (1)
, or (6)
, or 195.32
, to any railroad should for any reason be made, it may investigate the same with or without notice.
Procedure after summary investigation. 195.043(1)(1)
If, after summary investigation, the office becomes satisfied that sufficient grounds exist to warrant a formal hearing being ordered as to the matters investigated, it shall set a time and place for a hearing. The office shall publish notice of any such investigation in its weekly calendar and any report and all matters considered by the office with respect thereto shall be available for public inspection upon request.
Notice of the time and place for such hearing shall be given to the water carrier or railroad, and to such other interested persons as the office deems necessary, as provided in s. 195.04
, and thereafter proceedings shall be had and conducted in reference to the matter investigated in like manner as though complaint had been filed with the office relative to the matter investigated, and the same order or orders may be made in reference thereto as if such investigation had been made on complaint.
Witness fees and mileage. 195.044(1)(1)
Each witness who appears before the office or its agent, by its order, shall receive for attendance the fees and mileage now provided for witnesses in civil cases in courts of record, which shall be audited and paid by the state in the same manner as other expenses are audited and paid, upon the presentation of proper vouchers sworn to by such witnesses and approved by the office. Said fees and mileage shall be charged to the appropriation for the office.
No witness subpoenaed at the instance of parties other than the office is entitled to compensation from the state for attendance or travel unless the office certifies that the witness' testimony was material to the matter investigated.
The office or any party may in any hearing cause the depositions of witnesses residing within or without the state to be taken in the manner prescribed by law for like depositions in civil actions in circuit courts. Any expense incurred or authorized by the office in taking such depositions shall be charged to the appropriation for the office.
See also s. RR 1.09
, Wis. adm. code.
A full and complete record shall be kept of all proceedings before the office or its hearing examiners.
See also s. RR 1.07
, Wis. adm. code.
Transcripts as evidence.
A transcribed copy of the evidence and proceedings or any specific part thereof, on any hearing under this chapter taken by the stenographer, being certified by such stenographer to be a true and correct transcript of all the testimony or of a particular witness, or of other specific part thereof, carefully compared with the original notes, and to be a correct statement of the evidence and proceedings had on such hearing so purporting to be taken and transcribed, shall be received in evidence with the same effect as if such reporter were present and testified to the fact so certified. A copy of such transcript shall be furnished on demand free of cost to any party to such hearing.
History: 1977 c. 29
Incriminating evidence. 195.048(1)(1)
No person may be excused from testifying or from producing books, accounts and papers in any proceeding based upon or growing out of any violation of this chapter on the ground or for the reason that the testimony or evidence may tend to incriminate or subject the person to penalty or forfeiture, but no person having so testified may be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any such testimony. No person so testifying may be exempted from prosecution or punishment for perjury in testifying.
The immunity provided under sub. (1)
is subject to the restrictions under s. 972.085
History: 1977 c. 29
; 1989 a. 122
Office; water carrier rates, regulations, service, procedure. 195.05(1)(1)
Orders for rates and service.
Whenever the office shall find that any existing water carrier rate, fare, charge, or classification, or any joint rate, or any regulation or practice affecting the transportation of persons or property, or any service in connection therewith is unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory or that any service is inadequate, it shall determine and by order fix a reasonable rate, fare, charge, classification, joint rate, regulation, practice or service to be imposed, observed and followed in the future, in lieu of that found to be unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory or inadequate.
(2) Time to comply with orders.
Where the order made relates to service, and the same cannot, in the judgment of the office, be complied with within 20 days, the office may prescribe such additional time as in its judgment is reasonably necessary to comply with the order and may on application and for good cause shown further extend the time.
(3) Rates not changed by water carrier.
All water carriers to which the order applies shall make such changes in their schedule on file as may be necessary to make the same conform to said order, and no change shall thereafter be made by any water carrier in any such rates, fares or charges, or in any joint rates except as provided in s. 195.08
(4) Modification of orders.
The office may by order at any time, upon notice to the water carrier and after opportunity to be heard, rescind, alter or amend any order fixing any rate or rates, fares, charges or classification, or any other order made by the office.
Res judicata is inapplicable to commission orders since no time limitation is imposed for petitioning to reopen and the commission can rescind the previous executory order at any time. Village of Prentice v. Wisconsin Transportation Commission, 123 Wis. 2d 113
, 365 N.W.2d 899
(Ct. App. 1985).
All orders and determinations of the office are subject to judicial review under ch. 227
Office orders prima facie lawful.
All orders, determinations and decisions made by the office shall be in force and effective 20 days after the same has been served as required by s. 227.48
unless the office shall specify a different date upon which the same shall be effective, and shall be prima facie lawful, and all regulations, practices and service prescribed by the office shall be in force and shall be prima facie lawful and reasonable, until finally found otherwise upon judicial review thereof instituted pursuant to ch. 227
Law enforcement. 195.07(1)(1)
The office shall inquire into the neglect or violation of the laws of this state by water carriers and railroads, or by the officers, agents or employees thereof, or by persons operating water carriers and railroads, and shall report violations to the attorney general.
(2) Attorney general and district attorney to prosecute.
Upon request of the office, the attorney general or the district attorney of the proper county shall aid in any investigation, hearing or trial had under, and shall institute and prosecute all necessary actions or proceedings for the enforcement of, laws relating to water carriers and railroads.
(3) Actions, character, venue.
Any forfeiture, fine or other penalty provided in chs. 192
may be recovered as a forfeiture in a civil action brought in the name of the state in the circuit court of Dane County, or in the county that would be the proper place of trial under s. 801.50
Water carrier rates, schedules, service. 195.08(1g)(1g)
In this section “schedules" does not include “timetables".
(1r) Service rates to be adequate and just.
Every water carrier shall furnish reasonably adequate service and facilities, and the charges made for the transportation of passengers or property or for any service in connection therewith, or for the receiving, delivering, storing or handling of property shall be reasonable and just, and every unjust and unreasonable charge for such service is prohibited and declared to be unlawful.
(2) Schedules; publication.
Every water carrier shall print in plain type and file with the office schedules which shall be open to public inspection showing all rates, fares and charges for the transportation of passengers and property and any service in connection therewith which it has established and which are in force at the time between all points in this state upon its line or any line controlled or operated by it. The schedules shall plainly state the places upon its line or any line controlled or operated by it in this state between which passengers and property will be carried, and there shall be filed therewith the classification of freight in force.
(3) Schedules, rules and regulations.
Every water carrier shall publish with and as a part of such schedules all rules and regulations that in any manner affect the rates charged or to be charged for the transportation of passengers or property and its charges for delay in loading or unloading property or for rendering any other service in connection with the transportation of persons or property.
(4) Schedules, copies in terminals.
Two copies of said schedules for the use of the public shall be kept in every terminal and office of such water carrier in such form and place as to be easily accessible to the public.
(7) Changes in schedule.
No change shall be made in any schedule, or in any classification, unless the change shall be plainly indicated upon existing schedules, or by filing new schedules in lieu thereof, 30 days prior to the time the same are to take effect. Copies of all new schedules shall be filed as required in this section in every terminal and office of such water carrier at places to or from which the rates in such schedules apply, 30 days prior to the time the same are to take effect, unless the office shall prescribe a less time.
(9) Complaint against change in schedules.
Whenever a complaint is filed with the office before any change in any water carrier schedule, or in any classification, rule, regulation or practice becomes effective to the effect that the change is unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory, the office shall give notice to the water carrier that a complaint has been made, may investigate the complaint and shall set the complaint for hearing. The office may, in its discretion, by order, stay the change pending the determination of the matters investigated at any time before the change shall take effect. If the change complained of is found unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory, the change shall not take effect and, if the change has become effective, the office shall order the discontinuance thereof. The office may fix and order substituted for any such change such rates, joint rates, fares, charges, classification, rule, regulation, practice or service as it shall have determined to be just and reasonable and which shall be charged, imposed or followed in the future, and shall make such order respecting such rule, regulation, practice or service as it shall determine to be reasonable and which shall be observed and followed in the future. Procedure and notice shall be as provided in s. 195.04 (2)
(11) Freight classification.
There shall be but one classification of freight which shall be uniform on all water carriers.
Concentration, commodity, transit and other special contract rates are permitted, but all such rates shall be open to all shippers for a like kind of traffic under similar circumstances and conditions, and shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
The office shall have power, when deemed by it necessary to prevent injury to the business or interests of the people or water carriers of this state in consequence of any emergency to be judged of by the office, to temporarily alter, amend, or, with the consent of the water carrier company concerned, suspend any existing passenger rates, freight rates, schedules and orders on any water carrier in this state. Such rates so made by the office shall apply on one or more of the water carriers in this state or any portion thereof as may be directed by the office, and shall take effect at such time and remain in force for such length of time as may be prescribed by the office.