New York State operators fend off new inspection fee

ALBANY, N.Y. – Motorcoach operators in New York State have once again successfully fought off a proposed inspection/re-inspection fee for motor vehicles transporting passengers.

The proposed budget introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for a $120 fee for semi-annual inspections that currently don’t cost anything.

The Bus Association of New York (BANY), which successfully fended off a similar inspection fee in 2015, rallied its members to send letters to their state legislative representatives opposing the proposed fee.

“This language (TAX), if passed, will put our industry at a competitive disadvantage, not to mention cost our businesses more money!” BANY said in its electronic newsletter to members. “In 2015, the proposed fee was $100. This year, the proposed fee is $120!”

Apparently it worked. BANY recently issued a bulletin alerting members that the fee had been removed from the budget that was passed by the state legislature. It stated:

“BANY members have been relentless for the last eight weeks contacting their legislators via letter writing campaigns and personal phone calls to lobby against the provision in the Governor’s proposed budget which was singling out New York charter bus operators and forcing us to pay a $120 inspection fee, per bus for the Department of Transportation’s 721-inspection program.

“We have just received word that due to our members’ extensive outreach efforts and the ongoing and effective efforts of our lobbyists, Jerry Kremer and Anthony Figliola, the provision was removed from the governor’s budget!

“We ask our BANY members to contact their legislators one more time to thank them for their support in defeating this tax and protecting our charter bus operators!

“BANY thanks all of our members for their active support and participation in this Association wide initiative!”

Under the proposal, the state Department of Transportation would have been authorized to collect the $120 fee “for each semi-annual inspection of for-profit tour and charter bus fleets, ambulettes, and other large passenger vans/limousines.”

“Although DOT collects fees for some safety inspections including commercial truck and rail inspections, DOT still provides inspections at no cost for these for-profit motor vehicles,” the proposal stated. “This bill would allow DOT to recoup some of the costs associated with for-profit motor vehicle inspections in the same manner as other safety inspections.”

The budget proposal said the fees would result in $3 million in additional revenue to support the bus inspection safety program.

“This was an outstanding effort on behalf of all New York bus operators and demonstrates the exceptional value of belonging to the Bus Association of New York,” said Ken Presley, vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs and industry relations/COO for the United Motorcoach Association.

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