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FMCSA requests comments on Unified Registration System

By Terry Scruton
Senior Writer

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed a totally revised registration system called the Unified Registration System and is asking for comments on it.

The proposal is in response to a 1996 law in which Congress ordered the FMCSA to set up a system to bring three related components under one umbrella: DOT registration, authority filing and proof of financial responsibility filing.

In addition, the FMCSA is asking for comments on whether it should – and how to – include the Single State Registration System in the program.

The proposal, if approved, would apply to all U.S.-based private or for-hire motor carriers that haul property or move passengers in interstate commerce. It also applies to freight forwarders and brokers.

Rick Craig, director of regulatory affairs for OOIDA, said the idea behind the plan is to streamline the registration system for the trucking industry.

“The old bingo-stamp system was bad. The SSRS was better,” he said. “But both the industry and Congress want a more efficient system, so why not include all of these other systems?”

Craig said the FMCSA is looking for comments on the SSRS as well as other issues, such as whether to include Mexico-based carriers in the system. The agency is also asking for comments on the fee structure involved in the proposed system.

Craig said the proposed rule would change the current filing fees to make the system self-sustaining. He said the most notable change is in the authority filing fees, which would go from $300 down to $200.

The agency asked for public comments by publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register.

However, the House and the Senate each have their own version of the URS – or Unified Carrier Registration system as it is referred to in the Senate language – as part of the Highway Bill.

Visit The Docket Management System at http://dmses.dot.gov/submit/dspSubmission.cfm or the Federal eRulemaking Portal on the Web at regulations.gov.

The docket number is FMCSA-97-2349.

The House version of the bill eliminates the requirement to include the SSRS, while the Senate’s version provides details on how to include the SSRS. Congress is expected to present its final version of the Highway Bill to President Bush before its August recess.

Anyone who wants to submit comments may visit The Docket Management System at http://dmses.dot.gov/submit/ dspSubmission.cfm or the Federal eRulemaking Portal on the Web at www.regulations.gov.

The docket number is FMCSA-97-2349.

terry_scruton@landlinemag.com

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