The third meeting of the Board of Directors for the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan and Agreement, mandated under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), will take place August 22, 2006, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and August 23, 2006, from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., at the Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport, O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, IL 60666. The meeting is open to the public.
The 15-member Board, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and announced in a Federal Register notice published May 12, 2006, will be responsible for issuing rules and regulations to govern the UCR Agreement, which is the replacement system for the Single State Registration System (SSRS) due to expire on January 1, 2007. The UCR Agreement will govern the collection and distribution of registration and financial responsibility information provided and fees paid by for-hire and private motor carriers, brokers, freight forwarders, and leasing companies.
For more information, contact Mr. Bryan Price, Transportation Specialist, Office of Enforcement and Compliance, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, at (412) 395-4816 or email@example.com.
The Secretary of Transportation established the initial 15-member Board of Directors by direct appointment due to the imminent sunsetting of SSRS and the potential for significant loss of revenue by the 38 participating States if work is not completed prior to January 1, 2007. The establishment of the Board was announced in the Federal Register on May 12, 2006 (FR Volume 71, Number 92, Pages 27777-27779).
Section 4305 of SAFETEA-LU [Pub. L. 109-59, 119 Stat. 1144, August 10, 2005] created, under Title 49 U.S. Code (U.S.C.), a new section 14504a titled "Unified Carrier Registration System Plan and Agreement." Under the UCR Agreement, motor carriers, motor private carriers, brokers, freight forwarders, and leasing companies will provide registration and financial responsibility information and pay certain fees. The Unified Carrier Registration Board of Directors must issue rules and regulations to govern the UCR Agreement. Under the UCR Agreement, the USDOT Number will be the sole Federal identification number for all motor carriers. The UCR Agreement will replace the current SSRS, which will expire on January 1, 2007, in accordance with section 4305(a) of SAFETEA-LU.
SSRS is a State-administered registration program covering for-hire interstate motor carriers. SSRS ensures that all interstate for-hire motor carriers maintain public liability insurance at the appropriate levels and are properly authorized to operate under 49 U.S.C. 13902. A motor carrier must choose a single participating State in which to file its SSRS application. Usually a carrier is able to select the State in which it maintains its principal place of business. However, if that State is not a participating SSRS State, the carrier must select an SSRS-participant State in which it will operate the largest number of commercial motor vehicles in its fleet during the next registration year. Regardless of how the motor carrier makes the selection, the selected State is known as the "base" State and collects fees on behalf of all the participating States in which the motor carrier operates. A Canada- or Mexico-domiciled motor carrier also must select the State in the United States in which it most frequently operates as its base State for registration purposes.
Currently, 38 States participate in SSRS, and they use this registration system to generate revenues to supplement State general fund accounts and to conduct safety-related services. Historically, the for-hire motor carrier industry has complained about the cost of this program. Under section 4305 of SAFETEA-LU, Congress brokered a compromise that lowers the costs of for-hire motor carrier registration under SSRS while keeping the 38 participating States "whole" in terms of the amount of revenue they receive under SSRS. Congress accomplished this by spreading SSRS user fees to include a broader population of registrants and entities currently not required to register. By including private motor carriers, brokers, freight forwarders, leasing companies, and exempt for-hire motor carriers in the UCR Agreement, Congress lowered the registration costs for for-hire motor carriers and ensured that the SSRS States do not lose essential funding for safety services. SAFETEA-LU tasked the Board of Directors with developing an appropriate registration fee structure as well as a distribution formula for fees collected.
Under the law, the Board of Directors shall issue rules and regulations that shall:
(A) prescribe uniform forms and formats, for-
(i) the annual submission of the information required by a base State of a motor carrier, motor private carrier, leasing company, broker, or freight forwarder;
(ii) the transmission of information by a participating State to the Unified Carrier Registration System;
(iii) the payment of excess fees by a State to the designated depository and the distribution of fees by the depository to those States so entitled; and
(iv) the providing of notice by a motor carrier, motor private carrier, broker, freight forwarder, or leasing company to the Board of the intent of such entity to change its base State, and the procedures for a State to object to such a change under subparagraph (C);
(B) provide for the administration of the Unified Carrier Registration Agreement, including procedures for amending the Agreement and obtaining clarification of any provision of the Agreement;
(C) provide procedures for dispute resolution under the Agreement that provide due process for all involved parties; and
(D) designate a depository.
The Board also must recommend initial annual fees to be assessed against carriers, leasing companies, brokers, and freight forwarders under the UCR Agreement. The Secretary must set the initial annual fees for the next agreement year and any subsequent adjustment of those fees within 90 days of receiving the Board's recommendation and only after notice and opportunity for public comment.
The initial board members are:
- David Hugel, deputy administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, representing the U.S. Department of Transportation;
- Anthony Portanova, deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, representing the FMCSA Eastern Service Center;
- Angel Oliver, supervisor of the credentialing unit in the Motor Carrier Division of the Texas Department of Transportation, representing the FMCSA Southern Service Center;
- Ruth Sluzacek, director of motor carrier services for the Iowa Motor Vehicle Division, Iowa Department of Transportation, representing the FMCSA Midwestern
- Frank Laqua, administrator of motor carrier services for the North Dakota Department of Transportation, representing the FMCSA Western Service Center;
- Avelino Gutierrez, staff counsel for the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission;
- Barbara Hague, special projects coordinator for Missouri Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Services;
- Dave Lazarides, director of processing and information for the Illinois Commerce Commission's Transportation Bureau and program manager of the Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Network for the State of Illinois;
- William Leonard, director of the Freight Compliance and Safety Bureau for the New York Department of Transportation;
- Terry Willert, chief of the transportation section for the Colorado Public Utility Commission;
- Robert Pitcher, American Trucking Associations vice president, state laws division;
- Rick Craig, treasurer and director of regulatory affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and executive director of the OOIDA Foundation;
- Robert Voltmann, president and chief executive officer of the Transportation Intermediaries Association;
- Richard Schweitzer, general counsel of the National Private Truck Council; and
- Craig Sharkey, associate general counsel for Wal-Mart's Logistics Division.