Unified Motor Carrier Fee System: Progress Made but Challenges to Implementing New System Remain

GAO-07-771R Published: May 25, 2007. Publicly Released: May 25, 2007.
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The congressionally established unified carrier fee system was not implemented before its predecessor, the Single State Registration System, expired thereby preventing states from collecting fees from for-hire motor carriers and other related entities. The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) mandated that a new unified carrier fee system replace the Single State Registration System, which expired on January 1, 2007. The Single State Registration System annually provided 38 states with about $100 million in total fees collected from for-hire interstate motor carriers. States used revenue collected from this system to supplement general funds and conduct safety-related services. Unlike the Single State Registration System, the new system broadened the base of those expected to pay fees to include exempt for-hire motor carriers, private motor carriers, brokers, freight forwarders, and leasing companies. To develop and administer this new fee system, Congress established a Board of Directors. This board is also tasked with administering a federal-interstate Unified Carrier Registration Agreement (UCRA), and issuing rules and regulations to govern this agreement. GAO was asked to examine the progress that the board and the Department of Transportation have made in implementing the unified carrier fee system and any implications resulting from the status of its implementation. Specifically, we undertook this study to (1) describe steps taken to implement the unified carrier fee system and the current status of implementation, (2) identify factors contributing to the delay in implementing the unified carrier fee system, and (3) identify any potential implications resulting from the delay in implementing the unified carrier fee system.

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