Consolidation of proceedings.
(a) Initiation of consolidations. The Department, upon its own initiative or upon motion, may consolidate for hearing or for other purposes or may contemporaneously consider two or more proceedings that involve substantially the same parties, or issues that are the same or closely related, if it finds that such consolidation or contemporaneous consideration will be conducive to the proper dispatch of its business and to the ends of justice and will not unduly delay the proceedings. Although the Department may, in any particular case, consolidate or contemporaneously consider two or more proceedings on its own motion, the burden of seeking consolidation or contemporaneous consideration of a particular application shall rest upon the applicant and the Department will not undertake to search its docket for all applications that might be consolidated or contemporaneously considered.
(b) Time for filing. Unless the Department has provided otherwise in a particular proceeding, a motion to consolidate or contemporaneously consider an application with any other application shall be filed within 21 days of the original application in the case of international route awards under section 41102 of the Statute (see § 302.212), or, where a proceeding has been set for hearing before an administrative law judge, not later than the prehearing conference in the proceeding with which consolidation or contemporaneous consideration is requested. If made at such conference, the motion may be oral. All motions for consolidation or consideration of issues that enlarge, expand, or otherwise change the nature of the proceeding shall be addressed to the DOT decisionmaker, unless made orally at the prehearing conference, in which event the presiding administrative law judge shall present such motion to the DOT decisionmaker for his or her decision. A motion that is not timely filed, or that does not relate to an application pending at such time, shall be dismissed unless the movant shall clearly show good cause for failure to file such motion or application on time.
(c) Answer. If a motion to consolidate two or more proceedings is filed with the Department, any party to any of such proceedings, or any person who has a petition for intervention pending, may file an answer to such motion within such period as the DOT decisionmaker may permit. The administrative law judge may require that answers to such motions be stated orally at the prehearing conference in the proceeding with which the consolidation is proposed.