CTA wants U.S. hazmat fee reconsidered

OTTAWA — Near the end of February, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed a fee increase that didn’t sit well with the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

PHMSA, a division of the U.S. Department of Transporation, wanted to increase the registration and fee assessment program for hazmat transporters by as much as $2,000. Carriers, including Canadian companies that haul certain categories and quantities of hazardous materials, could see the annual fee rise to $2,975 (plus a $25 administrative fee) from $975 for registration years beginning in 2010-2011.

The fee increase would go towards funding the national Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grants program.

In a letter to the U.S. DOT, the Canadian Trucking Alliance urged the PHMSA to review the proposed increase. CTA reiterated the importance of funding safety and environmental initiatives such as the HMEP, but questioned the application and level of need for the proposed increase.

“CTA finds it troubling that in the face of federal budget constraints, U.S. agencies are developing a propensity for significant fee hikes to maintain programs on a status quo basis, rather than taking a hard look at programs and determining where cuts to non-essential components can be made,” said CTA president David Bradley.

CTA has further concerns that the fee assigned to large carriers ($25.5 million in gross revenue) is partially based on revenues that are derived from domestic business in Canada that should be completely beyond the reach of the U.S. government.

“This is patently unfair in CTA’s view, and it is our position that the determination of large carrier status should be based solely on revenue earned in the United States to haul hazardous materials,” explained Bradley.

While the public comment period on the proposed fee hike was closed yesterday, CTA continues to monitor this issue as PHMSA works toward a final decision.

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