California considers 42 percent hike in truck fees

| Wednesday, June 18, 2003

California is considering a significant increase in its basic IRP fees for truckers, raising the cost 42 percent, state officials told Land Line.

Anita Gore, a spokeswoman for the Department of Finance, said because of a new law in the year 2000, California changed from calculating its fee categories based on unladen weight to using laden weight. That action put it in compliance with how most member states in the International Registration Plan operate. The plan is a reciprocal agreement among states and Canadian provinces that manages reciprocal registration fees.

The 2000 bill in California was supposed to be “revenue neutral,” meaning it was supposed to neither add nor subtract from the state’s revenue. But instead, the change left the state highway fund short – some media reports say as much as $160 million short.

State officials calculated that an increase of 42 percent would be necessary to make up the difference – the exact amount of fee increase being proposed.

The Business Services unit at the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said the basic fee is now $1,700 on the largest tractor-trailers. A 42 percent increase would bring that to more than $2,400.

In addition to the basic fee, Business Services indicated the state charges truckers roughly $1,000 in additional fees.

California officials told The Sacramento Bee the increase was needed to keep up with necessary highway improvements in the state.

No bill has been introduced yet. Gore said the proposal came out of a conference committee that was working out differences between the Assembly and Senate version of the state budget. The Bee reported that the 2000 bill call for an adjustment in the fee schedule if the new laden weight-based structure didn’t produce the same amount of revenue as the old system.

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor

Mark Reddig can be reached at mreddig@landlinemag.com.

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