FMCSA agrees to extend comment period for UCR fee increase proposal

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has agreed to extend the comment period for the proposed increase to the Unified Carrier Registration Agreement (UCRA) fees after receipt of TRALA’s letter asking for more time.

TRALA’s letter to FMCSA was sent September 9, 2009, in response to the UCR fee increase proposal published September 3 in the Federal Register that originally only allowed for a 15-day comment period. The UCR fee proposal would more than double some of the current annual fees paid by motor carriers as well as leasing companies. The flat fee paid by leasing companies would increase from $39 to $83. The smallest motor carrier fleets would see their fees go from $39 to $83, while the largest fleets would see an increase from $37,500 to $82,983.

The UCRA was enacted as part of the highway authorization bill passed in 2005, known as SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users). The UCRA replaced the existing Single-State Registration System, where interstate motor carriers paid fees based on the number of trucks they had in their principal place of business, or the state where the largest number of trucks were operated. TRALA succeeded in securing a low, flat fee for leasing companies under the UCRA, arguing that motor carriers would be responsible for paying fees based on their fleet size, including any leased trucks.

The proposed UCR fee increases are partially attributed to the fact that the definition of a commercial motor vehicle under the agreement no longer includes trailers, only power units. The proposal also slightly realigns the fee payment brackets for motor carriers; currently the smallest bracket is for fleets with 0 to two commercial vehicles, with the next level being three to five commercial vehicles. The proposal would adjust the smallest fleet to 0 to one vehicle, and the next level two to five, and all others brackets would remain the same. The text also notes adjustments in fees due to non-compliant companies.

TRALA will submit a detailed comment letter to the FMCSA before the end of the extended deadline. The leasing association is concerned about this increase in fees and the overall premise of the UCRA program.

For more information on the proposed increase in UCR fees, contact TRALA’s Tom James at [email protected] or (703) 299-9120.

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