April 17, Colorado Springs -- After hearing arguments from state officials representing both sides, the Dispute Resolution Committee of the International Registration Plan Inc. (IRP) ruled late yesterday that Oklahoma was out of compliance with IRP rules. The committee concluded that Oklahoma's failure to comply inflicted economic harm to Illinois.
The IRP committee opted not to place a dollar figure on the amount of economic harm. Illinois officials contend licensing practices of service bureaus in Oklahoma deprived Illinois of more than $15 million from the year 1998 through 2001 by dramatically underreporting estimated miles that new applicants would run in Illinois. Oklahoma officials acknowledged that some underreporting of miles took place, but they put the extent of economic harm at closer to $1.3 million.
Oklahoma officials also repeatedly pointed out that the contested miles are "estimated miles" used only for first time licensing applicants. According to IRP rules, these miles cannot be audited, so Oklahoma has no opportunity to collect from truckers the funds Illinois contends is owed.
The Dispute Resolution Committee directed both states to get together to negotiate a settlement of disputed amounts. Should those negotiations not resolve the issue, the committee further directed the states to submit to a review by a third party.
Both sides were directed to report progress of the settlement at the next IRP meeting scheduled for November 2002.
This issue is a thorny one for states as well as the IRP. The committee's decision opens the door for other states to consider making claims against Oklahoma. In the broader context, any state could consider making claims against any other state or jurisdiction.