New Brunswick intends to join IRP

FREDERICTON, N.B. (Feb. 8) — New Brunswick announced plans to join the International Registration Plan (IRP), the reciprocal vehicle registration program, by 2001.

Transportation Minister Sheldon Lee made the announcement last Thursday in the legislature.

IRP is a co-operative agreement for registering vehicles that travel in two or more member jurisdictions. Each IRP-member jurisdiction agrees to prorate or divide the registration fee paid to the motor carrier’s base province or state. The fees are calculated on the percentage of fleet miles operated in each jurisdiction.

Apportionable vehicles are those used or intended for use in commercial transportation between two or more IRP jurisdictions and whose gross vehicle weight exceeds 26,000 pounds.

“For truckers, this cuts through red tape,” Lee said. “There is only one registration plate, one registration cab card, and both are good through all of the jurisdictions in which they are moving goods.”

Lee said IRP membership will cost the province more than $2 million a year in lost revenues, but will represent “millions of dollars in annual savings to the trucking industry.”

All U.S. states were members of the IRP by 1996. In Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan have joined. Ontario has announced its intention to join, but required legislation failed to pass late last year and must be introduced again, likely this spring.

At present, Lee said New Brunswick trucks move through about 35 U.S. jurisdictions under the umbrella of “full and free reciprocity.” The reciprocal agreements allow trucks to travel without registering or licensing their vehicles for each individual jurisdiction, or paying fees in every state through which they travel. However, the state of Montana cancelled its “full and free” reciprocal agreement with Ontario in 1998. There is concern that other states may follow.

“We want to ensure that New Brunswick is prepared to join the IRP before it became a necessity to do so,” Lee said. “We want to avoid huge cost increases to the trucking industry, if and when reciprocity agreements are cancelled. We also want to ensure that New Brunswick-based companies remain in New Brunswick.”

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