Bingo! FMCSA upholds New York sticker system for trucks

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 3/9/2012

OOIDA says a recent federal notice that grants New York City the right to charge a local truck tax and require truckers to display stickers as proof of payment harkens back to the days truckers were required to carry “bingo cards” to keep it all sorted out.

OOIDA is now questioning whether the piecemeal approach granted to New York could violate terms of interstate commerce and open the floodgates to other jurisdictions to implement a form of unique credentialing.

On Tuesday, March 6, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a notice in the Federal Register granting a petition from the New York City Department of Finance to reinstate its credentialing system for the city’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Tax.

Joe Rajkovacz, director of regulatory affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, says truckers who operate in the area should be aware of the credential to avoid penalties.

“In the past, truckers were paying the CMV tax and putting compliance decals on their truck. You’ve got to do it now – you’ve got to do it again,” Rajkovacz told “Land Line Now” on Sirius XM.

“If you run into the city quite a bit, you’re probably going to get harassed. A little word to the wise: Get your ducks in a row because New York City is coming after you.”

OOIDA questions the move by FMCSA to grant the petition – and without an open comment period – given that Congress did away with piecemeal credentialing in the 2005 transportation authorization bill.

“Congress has basically laid out that this stuff is not permitted anymore,” Rajkovacz said. “They put specific language in SAFETEA-LU to say that it’s basically no longer permitted.”

But when New York petitioned the FMCSA to get their credential back, OOIDA filed comments in support of a petition by the ATA in 2008 that stated New York’s credential display violated federal regulations.

The FMCSA, in its recent Federal Register notice, states that some exceptions to the rules exist, and noted that New York had its credentialing system in place since 1960.

“To qualify for the statutory exception … the credentials (in this case a decal) required by New
York City’s CMV tax must be part of a highway use tax that was in effect prior to October 1, 2006,” FMCSA stated in the notice. “Because the tax has been in effect since 1960, the only question before the Agency is whether it is a highway use tax within the meaning of the statutory exception.”

Rajkovacz says the exception granted to New York could open the gates for other jurisdictions to implement a unique credential. He points out that Oregon had a weight-distance credential prior to New York having its own permit. During a previous administration, the FMCSA said Oregon was not allowed to have its own credential.

“The agency said that, in its own words, that was exactly the kind of credential Congress intended to prohibit being carried in a commercial motor vehicle,” Rajkovacz said.

OOIDA has also raised the issue with certain port credentials, including a permit required by the Port of New York/New Jersey, as possible violations of federal rules.

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