FMCSA Proposes to Reduce Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Fees for third consecutive year
September 30, 2019
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration posted a proposed rule in the Federal Register on August 27th, 2019 requesting a reduction in the annual Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) fees in 2020 and subsequent registration years. This would be the third consecutive year that the FMCSA has reduced the annual fees. The FMCSA states that the reason for the continued reduction in fees is "to ensure that fee revenues do not exceed the statutory maximum and to account for the various excess funds held in the depository".
Due to the proposed reduction of fees, the UCR fees for 2020 will be delayed until further notice. Once the final rulemaking is published, thereby officially establishing UCR fees for 2020, the UCR Board of Directors will recommend that states delay enforcement for three (3) months from the start of the registration period.
The proposed fees for the 2020 registration year would be reduced below the 2018 registration fee level that was in effect by approximately 12.82 percent. The proposed fees for the 2021 registration year would be increased from the proposed 2020 but below the 2018 level by approximately 4.19 percent.
The UCR Plan and the 41 States participating in the UCR Agreement establish and collect fees from motor carriers, motor private carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders, and leasing companies. The UCR Plan and Agreement are administered by a 15-member board of directors; 14 appointed from the participating States and the industry, plus the Deputy Administrator of FMCSA. Revenues collected are allocated to the participating States and the UCR Plan. In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 14504a(f)(1)(E)(ii), fee adjustments must be requested by the UCR Plan when annual revenues exceed the maximum allowed. Also, if there are excess funds after payments to the States and for administrative costs, they are retained in the UCR Plan's depository and subsequent fees must be reduced as required by 49 U.S.C. 14504a(h)(4). These two distinct provisions are the reasons for the two-stage adjustment proposed in this rule. This NPRM proposes to reduce the annual registration fees established pursuant to the UCR Agreement for 2020, 2021, and subsequent years.
Currently the UCR Plan estimates that by December 31, 2019, total revenues will exceed the statutory maximum for the 2018 registration year by approximately $3.08 million. In addition, the UCR Plan determined that additional excess funds were collected for both the 2015 and the 2016 registration years that are being held in its depository. Therefore, in February 2019, the UCR Plan made a formal recommendation that FMCSA adjust the fees in a two-stage process. The proposed fees for the 2020 registration year, with collection beginning on or about October 1, 2019, would be reduced below the 2018 registration fee level that was in effect by approximately 12.82 percent to ensure that fee revenues do not exceed the statutory maximum, and to reduce the excess funds held in the depository, that also includes excess revenues for 2015 and 2016 not recognized during prior rulemakings. The proposed fees for the 2021 registration year, with collection beginning on or about October 1, 2020, would be reduced below the 2018 level by approximately 4.19 percent to ensure that fee revenues in the 2021 registration year and future years do not exceed the statutory maximum. The UCR Plan requested that the adjusted fees be adopted no later than August 31, 2019, to enable the participating States and the UCR Plan to reflect the new fees when collections for the 2020 registration year begin on or about October 1, 2019. The adoption of the adjusted fees must be accomplished through rulemaking by FMCSA under authority delegated from the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary).
The UCR Plan's formal recommendation requested that FMCSA publish a rule reducing the fees paid per motor carrier, motor private carrier of property, broker, freight forwarder, and leasing company based on an analysis of current collections and past trends. The UCR Plan's recommendation reduces fees based on collections over the statutory cap in 2018, and includes a reduction in the amount of the administrative cost allowance from $3,500,000 to $3,225,000 for the 2020 and 2021 UCR Agreement registration years. The Board completed an analysis estimating the amount of administrative cost allowance needed for the 2020 and 2021 registration period and has determined that an allowance of $3,225,000 will be needed each year for those registration years. The Agency reviewed the UCR Plan's formal recommendation and concluded that the UCR Plan's projection of the total revenues received for registration year 2018 is acceptable.
More information regarding the Proposed Rule can be found here.