As CCJ went to press, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration still was taking comments on a proposal that would more than double fees under the Unified Carrier Registration plan. With an increase at a factor of 2.22, the minimum fee, which applies to a one-truck operation or to a broker or freight forwarder, would go from $39 to $87, while the maximum fee for for-hire and private carriers with more than 1,000 trucks would rise from $37,500 to $83,412. The comment period originally was Sept. 18, but FMCSA had extended it until Sept. 28 in response to multiple requests.
FMCSA said several factors drove the need to increase fees in order to provide the $113 million necessary to provide states with the revenues they received under the Single State Registration System. One was a change in federal law last year that eliminated trailers from the calculation. That change alone requires increasing fees by 61 percent to maintain the $113 million in revenue even if every single carrier complied, FMCSA said in its notice of proposed rulemaking.
But compliance with the registration requirement has been far from 100 percent. Between 80 and 90 percent of carriers operating 100 or more trucks have registered under UCR. But the compliance rate among brokers and freight forwarders is only 16 percent, and fewer than 60 percent of single-truck operations have registered. In 2008, the overall compliance rate was 62.5 percent. While industry representatives on the UCR board believe the fees should continue to be based on 100 percent compliance, FMCSA is choosing a compliance rate of about 86 percent.
And on top of those concerns is a phenomenon FMCSA calls “bracket shift,” where carriers end up registering fewer trucks than anticipated based on the federal database.
For the latest news on the regulation, go to www.regulation.gov and search FMCSA-2009-0231 or visit www.ccjdigital.com.