Effective date of California IRP fee increases moved back

| Friday, August 01, 2003

Truckers who would have faced an immediate increase in costs under a bill in California will now have until the first of the year - if the bill passes.

AB1767 would raise the weight-based IRP fee in California. The bill, which has passed the Assembly, is now before the Senate. It would increase the total fee from $1,700 to $2,420, an increase of 42 percent. Truckers who run all their miles in California would pay the entire fee; those who run part of their miles there would pay based on what percentage of their total miles they run in California.

The original version of the bill called for the fee hike to take effect immediately on passage of the bill. However, now it will, if passed, take effect Jan. 1, 2004.

Ray Sotero, a spokesman for bill sponsor Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza, said work on the bill was delayed in part by the current budget battle in the state. However, it is still under consideration.

"It's still part of the legislative mix," he said. "We have until early September to get it out of the House; otherwise, it might be a two-year bill." At this point, the bill does not carry the two-year designation.

Land Line first reported on the possible increase June 18.

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, which put it in compliance with how most member states in the International Registration Plan operate. The plan is an 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.

AB1767 passed the House 47-0. It is now on the Senate floor awaiting final approval. There is no vote scheduled yet.

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor

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

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