WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National School Transportation Association (NSTA) has requested and received a fee exemption for school bus contractors with vehicles in their fleets that they use for intrastate school transportation.
On Thursday, the NSTA met with the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Board to request an exemption from the UCR fleet size calculation for school buses and school vehicles owned by for-hire contractors that are operated exclusively as intrastate transportation for schoolchildren, according to a news release from the association. Twenty-five school bus contractor trade associations representing school bus contractors across the U.S. showed their support by signing NSTA’s letter to the UCR Board.
NSTA’s request was presented at the UCR Board meeting by a team that included Maria Battista, NSTA’s association director; Brandon Wiseman, partner with Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, P.C.; Becky Weber, managing director with Prime Policy Group, and NSTA member contractors Michelle Simon, vice president of safety compliance with National Express; and Shawn McGlinchey, vice president of risk management with the Krapf Group.
The team explained that the UCR Board has broad authority and discretion to exempt motor carriers from fleet size calculations in determining fees, that congressional intent and public policy considerations support an exemption for intrastate school buses and vehicles. The NSTA also provided suggested exemption language for the UCR Board’s consideration. Following the presentation and discussion, the UCR Board voted to approve the request.
“NSTA member contractors reached out to our advocacy team earlier this year noting that UCR fee exemptions available to other intrastate motor carriers were not available to school bus contractors,” said Blake Krapf, NSTA’s president. “NSTA worked with member contractors and industry leaders to develop the facts and law supporting the request. NSTA appreciates the collaborative work and support from our peer associations and the careful consideration of the UCR Board in voting to approve the request.
Krapf added that the exemption will benefit NSTA members, in particular, smaller contractors “faced with discontinuing trips due to the cost of UCR fees on their entire fleet.”
Battista explained in School Bus Fleet’s November 2018 issue that in 2017 the UCR Board reaffirmed its position that a school transportation company must include all school buses in its fleet for purposes of determining UCR fees, even if only one vehicle crosses state lines.