NY operators battling inspection fee

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

The proposed budget introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo would impose 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, is encouraging its members to send a letter to their state legislative representatives opposing the new 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!”

Under the proposal, the state Department of Transportation would be 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 states. “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 fee would not apply to semi-annual inspections performed on school or transit bus and vehicle fleets.

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

BANY is encouraging its members to send a letter, provided by the association, to lawmakers opposing the proposed fees.

“We were able to defeat this proposed tax in 2015 with your help and we are asking you, once again, to stand with us and let our voices be heard!” BANY wrote in its newsletter to members.

“We need ALL BANY MEMBERS to act on the pending language. It is imperative that you, as a BANY member, edit the sample letter below with your company information, put it on your company letterhead, and send it to as many legislators as you feel necessary in your immediate region of the state.

“If you have colleagues who are not members of BANY, please forward them this information and ask them to do the same! We must act now as an association with a united and strong membership to get this language out of the proposed budget. We need to be relentless until this tax is defeated!”

A copy of the letter is available at the BANY website, www.banybus.org.

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