Illinois, Oklahoma clash over truck registration fees

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The International Registration Plan ruled in favor of Illinois in its dispute with Oklahoma over truck registration fees; Illinois is seeking more than $15 million in restitution.

Illinois presented its case to the IRP’s Dispute Resolution Committee on April 16, saying out-of-state trucking companies were allowed to improperly register in Oklahoma and report false mileage estimates that cheated Illinois and other states out of millions of dollars in registration fees.

Under the IRP, a truck owner registers in a state and pays to that state the prorated registration fees for all of the states in which the truck operates. The fees paid for a given state depend on the number of miles the truck or trailer operates in that state and the annual registration fee in that state. The state in which the vehicle is registered then transmits the fees collected to the appropriate states.

Illinois investigated what it calls “a pattern of improper IRP registrations” in Oklahoma from 1996 into 2000. The state said third-party agents in Oklahoma improperly registered truck drivers and trucking companies, and filed false estimates of the miles vehicles traveled in various states.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office found that the service agents used the same statement of estimated mileage for thousands of registrants. “The statements, which had no relationship to the miles the registrants actually intended to travel, were designed solely to reduce the fee paid by the registrant,” White’s office said in a press release.

White’s office claims that in 2000, more than 100,000 trucks and trailers were fraudulently registered in Oklahoma, resulting in a loss to Illinois of $8.2 million.

Oklahoma recently changed its registration rules to make it more difficult for out-of-state trucking companies to register there.

Oklahoma says Illinois lost something in the $2 million range, not the $15.5 million it wants. The IRP ordered the two states to work together to find a mutually acceptable figure by November.