FMCSA approves registration fee reduction for 2020-21

Annual registration fees collected from carriers, truck brokers and freight forwarders to support state safety programs will be cut by 14.45% for calendar years 2020 and 2021.

The reduction in fees from the 2018 level collected for the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan and Agreement is slightly more than originally had been anticipated, according to a notice published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The fees become effective, and the 2020 registration period will officially open, when the notice is published in the Federal Register on Feb. 13.

The FMCSA also noted that reduced 2019 registration fees, which were finalized in December 2018, range from approximately $3 to $2,712 per company, depending on the number of vehicles owned or operated.

The UCR and the 41 states that participate in the agreement establish and collect fees from motor carriers, motor private carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies to pay for state safety programs and enforcement activities.

However, if annual revenue collections exceed what is allowed by federal statute, the UCR must request fee adjustments that have to be approved by the FMCSA. For 2020, the approximate fee to be collected (depending on number of vehicles) is outlined below:

2020 vehicle registration fee (by range of number of vehicles owned or operated). Source: FMCSA

In commenting on the changes, which had been proposed last year, the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC), which represents smaller trucking companies and brokers, asserted that the UCR was unlawfully collecting fees from intrastate (as opposed to interstate) carriers since October 2018 and therefore could require refunds that would affect revenues available to the states, which would therefore affect fee levels. The FMCSA found that SBTC’s concerns didn’t warrant a fee adjustment.

“It is the responsibility of each motor carrier to determine if it is required to register with the UCR Plan under the UCR Agreement because it is an interstate carrier, including carriers engaged in interstate transportation in a single state that involved a prior or subsequent movement across a state line,” the agency noted. “SBTC has not provided any data on the number of intrastate carriers, if any, that have registered incorrectly or have been registered incorrectly by a third-party service. It has also not provided any estimate of the impact on the revenues of any incorrect registrations by intrastate motor carriers.”

FMCSA also pointed out that since 2019 registrations began, revenue collected by the UCR and participating states through August generated almost $104 million toward the 2019 total revenue target of just over $111 million and that the UCR Plan anticipates receiving an additional amount of over $4 million when 2019 registration closes in September 2020.

The agency therefore considers it “unlikely that incorrect registration of intrastate motor carriers will have any significant impact on the revenues derived from the fees.”