New hurdles

| July 03, 2007

In August 2005, Congress ordered that the UCR Plan replace the Single State Registration System Plan by Jan. 1, 2007. The public comment period for the proposal ended last month.
Under the 2005 law, the UCR Plan is an organization that will administer the UCR Agreement – an interstate agreement governing the collection and distribution of registration and financial responsibility information provided and fees paid by motor carriers, motor private carriers, brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies.

Thirty-eight states participated in the SSRS last year, and all but California and North Carolina will participate in the UCR this year. In addition, Oregon, which did not participate in the SSRS last year, will participate in the UCR.

As called for in the legislation, FMCSA last year appointed a 15-person board to recommend a fee schedule, which the agency has followed in drafting its proposal. The proposed schedule, which is the total amount to be paid by the company, is as follows:

  • 0 to 2 power units, as well as brokers and leasing companies – $39

  • 3 to 5 power units – $116
  • 6 to 20 power units – $231
  • 21 to 100 power units – $806
  • 101 to 1,000 power units – $3,840
  • 1,001 and above – $37,500

The fees would raise about $107.3 million in fiscal 2007, all but $5 million of which would go to participating states to replace SSRS revenues. The remaining $5 million goes for administrative expenses of the UCR Plan.
- Avery Vise

ATA Criticizes Real ID
The federal Real ID Act is impossible for the states to implement and would have “extreme consequences” for many truckers, the American Trucking Associations said in comments submitted May 4.

Passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in 2005, the Real ID Act is designed to create national standards for issuing state driver’s licenses and identification cards in 2009. A Real ID would be required of anyone using a driver’s license to board a commercial flight or enter a federal facility.

The ATA submitted comments on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s draft Real ID rule. “Unfortunately, both the act and DHS’s rule prescribe requirements which the states cannot meet, either in the time provided or with the resources available to them,” the association wrote. “In addition, since the Real ID requirements include commercial driver’s licenses, the rule would have extreme consequences for motor carriers and truck drivers who serve federal facilities and for those facilities themselves.”

Homeland Security should reassess whether a consolidated transportation worker identification credential, or TWIC, can substitute for a Real ID among truck drivers and other transportation workers, the ATA said.

The National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association also have expressed concerns, saying states lack the resources to carry out the Real ID mandate. Some states have adopted measures opposing Real ID.

The American Civil Liberties Union has charged that Real ID will be a bureaucratic nightmare. “By placing personally identifiable information in databases accessible across the country, Real ID makes the information more vulnerable to identity theft and misuse,” the ACLU said in a statement.
- Jill Dunn

TA Acquires Petro
TravelCenters of America has acquired the operating businesses of Petro Stopping Centers for $70 million and simultaneously leased 40 Petro travel centers from parent company Hospitality Properties Trust.

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