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FMCSA proposes 9% cut in trucker registration fees for 2024

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators likely will approve once again a cut in motor carrier fees collected for registration and safety programs in 2024 but will likely have to raise those fees for the first time in at least a decade starting in ’25.

Based on a recommendation by the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan and Agreement, which oversees and collects the fees for the 41 states participating in it, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposes reducing them by approximately 9% for the 2024 registration year.

Depending on the number of power units owned or operated by the carrier, freight forwarder or leasing company (from 0 to 1,001 and over), the amount reduced from 2023 will vary between $4 and $3,453 (see table).

Power units 0-2 3-5 6-20 21-100 101-1,000 1,001+
2023 fee $41 $121 $242 $844 $4,024 $39,289
2024 fee (proposed) $37 $111 $221 $769 $3,670 $35,836
Change -$4 -$10 -$21 -$75 -$354 -$3,453
UCR recommended carrier fee reductions. Source: UCR Plan, FMCSA

The 2024 registration fee reduction, scheduled to be published by FMCSA in the Federal Register on Thursday for public comment, compares with a 31% cut made in ’22 (after a late adjustment from an initial 27% reduction) for the ’23 registration year.

The UCR plan analyzes the registration fees that have been collected from carriers and distributed to the states and reconciles them with state revenue entitlements prescribed by Congress and set by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“If the UCR plan determines that the fees received fall short of or exceed what is needed to meet those revenue entitlements … then the UCR Plan Board of Directors will recommend to [FMCSA] that the fee schedule … be adjusted accordingly,” according to UCR Plan Board Chair Elizabeth Leaman’s 2024 recommendation to FMCSA.

No fee adjustments had been recommended for the 2010 through 2017 registration years, while reductions have been made for every registration year since, including the ’22 fee cut and a 14.5% cut for ’20 and ’21.

Leaman notes, however, that the UCR board anticipates an upward adjustment will be “more than likely” for the 2025 registration year following the large fee decreases, because “the UCR plan does not expect that there will be any additional excess funds from overcollection that can be applied to meet the total revenue target” for 2025, she stated in her recommendation.

In addition, FMCSA pointed out that the UCR Plan Board slightly modified from previous years its methodology for developing the 2024 recommendation, when it was based on minimum collections, “as the previous methodology consistently resulted in an underestimation of collections.”

“The UCR Plan Board’s recommendation now uses an average of the historical monthly collections over the prior three-year period to determine projected collections, which will yield a more accurate result.” 

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.