Pending Senate legislation would encourage the Surface Transportation Board to curb anti-competitive railroad practices in Montana and other states. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., added an amendment to a transportation spending bill Thursday that would prompt the board to review and consider more complaints by small shippers and others who want to see more competition on the rails. “One small step at a time, our efforts are making Congress see that there are some serious issues in the rail industry that need to be addressed,” Burns said. Railroad shippers trying to send coal, grain and other products around the country have complained they are “captive” to higher prices and equipment shortages in some states, including Montana and North Dakota, because of a lack of railroad competition. They also argue that they are forced to pay inflated fuel surcharges. The spending legislation passed through a Senate committee Thursday and will now head to the Senate floor.