FMCSA amends 2023 UCR fees

August 31, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is reducing the Unified Carrier Registration fees for 2023. Depending on the number of vehicles owned, the agency said the fee reduction could be as low as $18 and as much as $17,688.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, who called out the UCR fees earlier this year, said the reduction doesn’t go far enough.

“FMCSA’s response continues to show that the Unified Carrier Registration program serves only as a bureaucratic slush fund,” said Jay Grimes, OOIDA’s director of federal affairs. “Although the notice marginally reduces the fees initially proposed in January, an appropriately administered UCR plan would have established lower UCR fees upon small-business truckers for the past several years. OOIDA maintains that the UCR should be eliminated based on its inequitable fee structure and lack of transparency in administering funds, not to mention the excessive, indulgent spending practices.”

OOIDA previously told the agency that the 2023 fees were contrary to UCR statute and the Administrative Procedures Act.

“OOIDA’s members already face too many fees from all levels of government to conduct the essential business they operate,” the Association wrote in comments signed by OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “It adds insult to injury when a fee is imposed upon them that is higher than permitted under law.”

The UCR is an annual permit that most motor carriers must pay if they have an active U.S. DOT number regardless whether they are using that DOT number or not and it is marked interstate.

As part of FMCSA’s notice, which is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register on Thursday, Sept. 1, the agency responded to several of OOIDA’s arguments.

OOIDA said the UCR Plan is not authorized by either the statute or the UCR handbook to establish financial reserve accounts and allocate funds to such accounts.

“The statute provides that the UCR Plan is the organization of state, federal and industry representatives responsible for developing, implementing, and administering the Unified Carrier Registration agreement,” FMCSA wrote. “It also includes specific authority to provide for the administration of the UCR Agreement by adopting rules and regulations.” LL

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.