Carriers transporting certain hazardous materials will continue to pay a registration fee of $275 or $1,975 (plus a processing fee), depending on the size of the business, according to a final rule issued by the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) September 16. In adopting the rule, the agency has established the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to define a "small business," which for truck transportation lists a small business as $21.5 million.
RSPA has been criticized for its fee leveling because the fees, originally set in February 2000, enriched RSPA coffers by $21 million each registration year since the rule inception.
"As soon as Congress acts on the FY (fiscal year) 2003 budget request, we intend to take appropriate action on the proposals to temporarily reduce registration fees and charge not-for-profit organizations the same registration fee as a small business," RSPA states in the final rule. "In the meantime, however, we consider that it is appropriate to adopt those proposals that are unrelated to reducing registration fees." RSPA plans to address these issues in a separate final rule after Congress enacts Department of Transportation appropriations for 2003.
The new rule also allows carriers to register via the Internet and authorizes the use of additional credit cards to pay the registration fee. The rule becomes effective January 6, 2003.
More information on the business size criteria can be found on the Small Business Administration Web site at sba.gov
Information from RSPA can be obtained by contacting David Donaldson, Office of Hazardous Materials Planning and Analysis, (202) 366-4484, or Deborah Boothe, Office of Hazardous Materials Standards, (202) 366- 8553, Research and Special Programs Administration, US Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington DC 20590.