Zorn bill cuts new fees on interstate tow trucks

LANSING, Mich. — Some trucks involved in interstate towing operations could see their Michigan registration fees reduced under legislation introduced on Thursday by Sen. Dale Zorn.

“This will provide some relief to small business owners who are now being charged an additional $100 on each of their tow trucks after a state reinterpretation of federal law,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This new interpretation results in huge new costs to towing operators paying twice for state and federal registration for the same trucks. The goal is to reduce those costs and enable these towers to continue to service local businesses and our communities.”

In 2005, the federal government enacted the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) system, allowing certain commercial vehicles engaged in interstate (or international) trucking to register through the UCR and pay a single fee as a way of eliminating the need to register with each state that the business may travel through.

At the time, the Michigan Public Service Commission had oversight of the registrations and determined that UCR-registered vehicles did not need to also register and pay an additional fee to the state.

Oversight was transferred to the Michigan State Police in 2011, and the new Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division informed businesses in 2018 that the MPSC had been interpreting the UCR law incorrectly. This year, the division began requiring UCR-registered trucks to also be registered with the state and pay the additional fee.

Senate Bill 309 would reduce the new annual fee paid by trucks engaged in interstate nonconsensual towing operations from $100 per truck to $50 per vehicle.

“We thank Senator Zorn for introducing SB 309 and applaud his efforts to reduce these costly fees,” said Michigan Towing Association President Joel Ballor. “The reduction of fees will benefit small business owners who work across state lines to assist law enforcement 24/7 in keeping our roadways clear and safe.”

The bill has been sent to the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for consideration.