Trucking industry faces fee increase

By Gus Bode

Consumers may face impact of increased rates

At the end of each school year, many college students are left wondering what they will do with their belongings.

Some students will put their things in storage.


But for those who are leaving SIUC for good, many will load up their trucks and get on the road.

Students can expect an increase in moving fees due to legislation that would require all trucks weighing more than 8,000 pounds to pay an additional commercial distribution fee.

Several members of the House, including Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, are seeking a repeal to the new state trucking fees.

“When the economy goes sour, you don’t impose heavy fees on businesses that provide quality jobs,” Bost said in a press release. “Instead, we should be working with them and supporting their efforts in an effort to foster economic growth and job creation.”

Bost said he was also concerned about the state of Illinois’ economy when compared to the nation as a whole.

“We can see the reports are coming back and the economy is starting to climb, except in the state of Illinois,” he said. “Why is the unemployment rate still remaining high in the state of Illinois? It’s because of laws like this – they have caused us to sink deeper into a recession instead of rebounding like the rest of the nation. It will take us years to get around the anti-business position.”

Don Schaefer, executive vice-president of Mid-West Truckers Association, said that although he believes the government originally planned to tax out-of-state truckers, a large portion of the fee increases will be felt by in-state truckers who do not have the option to move their business out of state.


He said neighboring states, including Indiana and Missouri, have work environments that may lure Illinois trucking companies out of the state.

Schaefer said he feels the fee increases are unrealistic.

“This is money these companies did not budget for,” he said. “They have not built it into their rate structure, and they have no way to recoup that money. It’s what we call predatory taxation.”

The amount of money each trucking company pays will depend on the size of the truck. The new fee will require trucking companies to add 36 percent to their current license fee.

Dan Bost of Bost Truck Service Inc. said the pickup truck fee would increase to $50, while the semi-truck fee would increase to $1,005.

The total licensing fee for semi-trucks will give Illinois the second highest license fee in the United States.

Schaefer said his organization is continuing to work with legislators to find ways to reduce fees in the trucking industry.

“We don’t mind paying our fair share,” Schaefer said. “Just three years ago, they increased truck license fees by 40 percent and then came back and increase another 36 percent. That is just a lot to bite in three years. And it doesn’t surprise me that companies are beginning to look for alternatives.”

Dan Bost said price increases could be passed to consumers if fees continue to increase.

“We are limited to competition,” he said. “We can only price based on where our competition is pricing at.”

Also, Dan Bost said he believes the fee increases are an example of both anti-business and counterproductive legislation.

“I don’t think [the government] realizes these people can leave – they don’t have to stay,” he said. “We’re not out on an ocean somewhere where these companies can’t leave. We can go right across the state line and do business.”

Dan Bost also said he feels the rate increases are retroactive and discriminatory if certain trucking companies are given treatment that others are not.

Bost Truck Service Inc., which has 28 trucks, will have to pay anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 more this year, according to Dan Bost.

He said while many companies are considering going across the state border, he is not in a rush to make a move.

“We are going to ride it out and see if [state legislators] wise up in November and rethink their policies,” Dan Bost said. “If they don’t, then we have no other choice.

“I am from Southern Illinois. I like it here. I don’t want to go. But if I have to leave, I will to survive.”