FMCSA deliberates UCR filing fee reduction

By Sandi Soendker, Land Line editor-in-chief | Monday, October 09, 2017

While it is now time for trucking businesses to pay annual UCR fees, probable fee reductions are afoot. That’s why OOIDA says it would be smart to wait or you may pay too much.

The Unified Carrier Registration program is an annual, federally mandated, state-administered registration program for motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders. As was recommended by the Unified Carrier Registration Board earlier this year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has finally published their proposal to establish reduced filing fees. Details were published Sept. 20 in the Federal Register.

The agency proposes to reduce the fees below the current level to ensure the fee revenues do not exceed the statutory maximum and to account for the excess funds held in the depository.

If the agency approves, the fees for 2018 would be reduced by 9.10 percent and for 2019 by 4.55 percent.

The agency set 10 days for comments, which ended Oct. 2. Seven comments were filed on the proposal, including comments from Woody Chambers and Monte Wiederhold. Chambers and Wiederhold are OOIDA members and also serve on the UCR Board of Directors.

In their submitted comments, the two addressed the program’s complexities and inequalities that disadvantage small-business owner-operators and professional drivers. They suggested that a flat fee per vehicle would provide better equality among all carriers. Chambers and Wiederhold also recommended a federal audit to see how states are spending the UCR revenue.

According to the agency’s statement, after closing of comments, the FMCSA could announce the rule at any time. On Friday, Oct. 6, FMCSA Spokesman Duane DeBruyne said it will be announced in the Federal Register.

Registration normally opens Oct. 1, and must be paid by Dec. 31. In view of a delay on the part of the FMCSA, the UCR Board voted at their September meeting to recommend the Oct. 1 opening date be extended until Nov. 1. 
 
No extensions have yet been recommended to delay the final filing date of Dec. 31 or enforcement date of Jan. 1.

 

 

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