New Commercial Vehicle Fees

All companies that operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce will face new fees in 2007 under the Unified Commercial Registration Plan, or UCR. The Board of Directors of the UCR Plan has been meeting monthly in Chicago since June 2006 to consider plans for implementing its congressional mandate for a carrier registration and fee system to replace the Single State Registration System, which applies only to for-hire trucking companies and which was repealed by Congress effective January 1, 2007. I serve as one of the five industry representatives on the 15-member UCR Board.

Congress mandated that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issue a final rule by August 10, 2006, to create a “single, online federal registration system” to replace the current DOT registration system (MCS-150 filings); for-hire carrier, freight forwarder and broker registration using MC and FF numbers; minimum financial responsibility filings; process agent filings; and the Single State Registration System.

Despite that deadline, the FMCSA has said that this new online registration system is still “several years away.” The FMCSA did issue a notice of proposed rulemaking on its Unified Registration System on May 19, 2005, but Congress later imposed some additional requirements on the agency. It appears that the FMCSA will continue its program of developing the online registration system over the next several years, and the UCR Board will create a registration system and fee to replace the SSRS. At some point it is expected the two systems will be merged into the truly single online system that Congress has mandated.

The UCR Board has verified the amount of money the 38 participating states raised in 2004 in SSRS fees (approximately $106 million). Although the SSRS was repealed effective January 1, 2007, under statute states may collect UCR fees to replace the revenue from the SSRS; the total amount of UCR fees to be collected will be capped at the 2004 fees raised under the SSRS, plus administrative expenses for running the UCR.

# of CMVs Annual Fees
1 $75
2-5 $145
6-20 $425
21-100 $1,470
101-1,000 $7,000
1,001 + $37,500

The Board has recommended fees to be set by FMCSA. Under the statute, private and for-hire motor carriers (including GAWDA members that operate their own trucks) will pay annual, per-company fees based on the number of commercial motor vehicles (defined as a vehicle used in commerce over 10,000 lbs. GVW or carrying a placardable load of hazardous materials) that they operate in interstate commerce. The proposed fees appear in the table at right.

The FMCSA must now publish this fee proposal in the Federal Register and seek public comments. Once the rule is final, the states will issue notices to all companies subject to the fees and demand payment for the 2007 registration year. These notices will likely go out in the second quarter of 2007—companies do not need to do anything to comply with the fees until a notice is received.

Once the fees are in place, however, second-year fees will be adjusted for the actual number of registrants and the amount of revenue generated. If the revenue generated in the first year exceeds $106 million, the fees will decrease in the second year, and if the first year fees are less than $106 million, the second year fees will increase.

Because the fees will be imposed based on the number of vehicles operating in interstate commerce, it is critical that each GAWDA member review and make sure that the number of CMVs set out in its Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) entry is correct. To check the number of CMVs that the FMCSA has listed for a fleet, a carrier may go to www.safersys.org, click on “Company Snapshot” and enter its fleet USDOT number. Carriers should review all of the USDOT numbers for each registered fleet if they have multiple registrations.

To correct a MCMIS profile, go to the FMCSA Online Registration and Licensing System and click, “I need to update my USDOT number registration information or file my biennial update.” A carrier will be able to correct the number of vehicles listed for the company at that page.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Meet the Author
GAWDA Government Affairs and Human Resources Legal Consultant Richard P. Schweitzer, Esq., is president of Richard P. Schweitzer, PLLC, in Washington, D.C. Members can reach him at 202-223-3040 and at rpschweitzer@rpslegal.com.