Citing an "unexpended balance" in the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grants fund, the U.S. Research and Special Programs Administration has proposed to temporarily lower registration fees for hazardous materials haulers.

Earlier this year the agency expanded registration to anyone who transports hazardous materials required to be placarded. At the same time it changed the fee structure from $250 plus a $50 processing fee for all registration to a two-tier schedule. Starting May 2000, companies that qualified as small businesses under rules set by the U.S. Small Business Administration paid $275 plus a $25 processing fee. All others paid $1,975 plus $25.
RSPA estimated that about 1,500 or 3% registrants would pay the higher fee. Instead, it collected $2,000 each from some 5,800 companies or 15% of registrants. In all, fees totaled more than $21 million which, with other funds, gave the agency an $8.5 million surplus in the HMEP fund.
The proposed new registration fees, effective for the next six registration years, are $250 for small businesses and non-profit organizations, regardless of their size; and $475 for all others. All registrants would continue to pay the $25 processing fee.
Comments are due February 2, 2001. A full explanation of the proposal can be found in the December 7, 2000, Federal Register available at