Interstate Commerce Commission Should Revise Its User Fee Program

RCED-83-55: Published: Jan 13, 1983. Publicly Released: Jan 13, 1983.

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GAO conducted a review to determine whether opportunities exist for the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to recover more of the costs of special services such as licensing and regulatory functions, approving operating authority applications, motor vehicle rental contracts, and tariff and rate schedules for regulated carriers.

ICC is not recovering the full costs of providing these services to identifiable beneficiaries because it: (1) does not charge fees for all services; (2) has not revised its user fees since 1972; and (3) sets fees at 50 percent of the cost of providing services. In addition, the current ICC fee schedule consists of 40 services; however, GAO found that ICC performs at least 26 other services for which fees are not assessed. GAO believes that fees could be imposed for several of these services and that the current fees are generally too low. A GAO analysis of the fees collected for five services in 1981 showed that the estimated costs to provide services exceeded receipts by approximately $1.7 million. Efforts to update fees have been hampered because costs of providing special services cannot be readily identified, and because ICC has been uncertain as to the extent of cost data needed to support a modification of the fee schedule. Although ICC has a system which can be used to determine hours expended on some services, many of its services are not included in this system. In addition, ICC is not specifically required to charge the full cost of special services, but user fees should be set to recover full cost, where practicable.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In a new fee schedule effective June 1, 1984, ICC reported estimated annual collections of $9.5 million or an increase of $3.5 million over the prior echedule.

    Recommendation: The Managing Director, ICC, should establish user fees which are justified by the above analyses, and periodically update the fees.

    Agency Affected: Interstate Commerce Commission

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Managing Director, ICC, should determine for which services a fee should be established by: (1) ascertaining the costs to ICC of providing the service, using or modifying the existing system as needed; and (2) ensuring that the cost of collecting the fee does not exceed projected revenues and that the collection is administratively feasible.

    Agency Affected: Interstate Commerce Commission

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Managing Director, ICC, should identify all services ICC performs which provide a special benefit to an identifiable beneficiary.

    Agency Affected: Interstate Commerce Commission

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, ICC, should require the Managing Director to review and revise ICC user fees consistent with 31 U.S.C. 9701, court decisions, Office of Management and Budget Circular A-25, and the Comptroller General's decision.

    Agency Affected: Interstate Commerce Commission

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Managing Director, ICC, should justify any charges for services at less than full cost, and periodically reevaluate the justification.

    Agency Affected: Interstate Commerce Commission

 

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