ATA proposes ditching UCRA

The American Trucking Associations is proposing the elimination of the relatively new Unified Carrier Registration Agreement (UCRA) program and replacing it with direct federal payments to states through the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program. The approximately $100 million necessary to replace UCRA would come from an increase in the federal fuel tax of a fraction of a cent.

The UCRA board of directors recently recommended that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration approve by rulemaking a 120 percent jump in the fee per vehicle. A change in the fee structure was necessary in any case given the congressional action last year to eliminate trailers, but ATA argued that the current fee level should remain in place given the financial strain motor carriers are facing.

ATA President Bill Graves lodged the trucking industry’s protest Friday, Feb. 20, in a letter to 50 state governors. According to ATA, one of the problems with the program is lower-than-anticipated revenues due to lack of enforcement by states. So in effect, the UCRA board is proposing to punish carriers that comply with the regulations by raising their fees to offset losses from noncompliant carriers, ATA says.