UCR fees adjusted for 2010

| 3/2/2009

An increase in the 2010 UCR fees was inevitable. It wasn’t a matter of if, just a matter of how much.

The need for increases in the UCR fee schedule for 2010 can be blamed in part on a legislative change in the language of the program and on noncompliance by some motor carriers who aren’t paying their fees at all.

Unified Carrier Registration is a plan with a fee structure that goes from the old per-truck basis to a per-carrier basis and is the same for all member states. Truckers no longer have to pick and choose states, as they did with the Single State Registration System. One fee covers all states.

The UCR’s fee structure must cover the same revenue states received in 2004 under the old SSRS system as well as any new states that join the program. The fees must also handle administrative costs. The initial fee structure never did that.

Now, a change in legislative language, motor carriers who are dodging their fees and a shortfall in revenue made the fee increase inevitable, according to Rick Craig, OOIDA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs. Craig is on the UCR Board.

Craig explained that when the UCR fee structure was initially set up, fees were determined based on the mix of both power units and trailers because of a broad legal definition included in the UCR language. Including trailers in the mix dropped the original per truck/trailer fee significantly.

However, legislation that was signed into law removed trailers from the definition. That shifted the universe of carriers around, which changed what brackets carriers were included in and what fees they were to pay. That would have further decreased the amount of money coming into the program if the fee structure wasn’t changed.

The second problem contributing to the need for a fee increase is the number of motor carriers that should be paying their fair share, but aren’t. That shortchanges the program’s revenue as well.

Craig said that while fees in 2010 will increase quite a bit, they are still significantly lower than what most truckers paid into the old SSRS system.

The UCR Board considered a number of scenarios, and Craig said he ultimately voted for the most equitable fee structure that had a chance for passing.

“There were scenarios that significantly increased the fees of smaller motor carriers, while actually decreasing the per-truck fees for the largest motor carriers,” Craig said. “The scenario that I voted for – and the one that was adopted – was not the one I would have preferred, but it was the best scenario that watched out for the interest of small motor carriers and had any real shot at passing.”

The fee structure adopted by the board for 2010 is:

  • 0-1 trucks – $83
  • 2-5 trucks – $166
  • 6-20 trucks – $497
  • 21-100 trucks – $1,741
  • 101-1,000 trucks – $8,373
  • 1,001 or more trucks – $82,983

Brokers and leasing companies will still be subject to the same fee paid by truckers in the 0-1 truck category.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor