Saturday, August 04, 2007

Return of the SSR

The transportation industry thought the Single State Registration System (SSR) was dead and gone. We are now viewing a resurrection.

Effective January 1, 2007, the federal government “killed” the SSR system under which motor carriers were required to register their vehicles and insurance in the 37 participating states. At the same time, the Feds created the Unified Carrier Registration System (UCRS). However, the UCRS regulators never got it running. As the result of this failure, the 37 participating states lost all the revenues they expected to receive from some registration system and those of you in the motor carrier industry saved the registration fees and the time needed to comply. Intellectually, I think we all knew the good times would end.

Congress sent President Bush a bill on August 2, which he is expected to sign immediately, reinstating the SSR effective and retroactive to January 1, 2007 if the UCRS system is not running by October 1. The UCR Board does not feel it is possible to get ready by this time. The only question remaining is how long the states will give their regulated interstate carriers to register and get the proper identification in and on their vehicles. The states are desperate to replace the lost income. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe this will happen very quickly.

It is also reasonable to believe that this registration process will create some chaos, since the state regulators are not set up for handling these registrations. For example, carriers based in Michigan will need to register with the Michigan Public Service Commission. The commission cut back staff this year and is struggling to handle the work it expected without these resurrected filings.

Whatever happens on October 1, all regulated carriers should be prepared to pay the fees and file some type of registration forms early this fall for the year 2007, and then again later this year for the year 2008. Right now, there are no forms available for either registration system. If you are a client of my office and you want to prepare in advance, I can send you the SSR forms for 2006, which will allow you to comply when the formal announcement is made.


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