A headline in yesterday's editions incorrectly said that the Interstate Commerce Commission has stopped publishing motor carrier announcements in the Federal Register. That is only a proposal at this time.
The Interstate Commerce Commission has come up with some rather creative ways to trim its budget. The commission figures it can save about $1.5 million by publishing motor carrier announcements in an ICC publication rather than in the Federal Register. "The Federal Register charges on a per page basis" and the commission thinks it can do it more cheaply itself, according to spokesman Tom Davis. The American Trucking Association isn't thrilled with the idea and wants some assurances that whatever publication is chosen will be widely distributed.
The trucking association is even more concerned about another ICC proposal to save money by fiddling with the regs. A motor carrier must now go through a two-step process to get a new route approved. First the company must prove that the public needs a new carrier, then it must satisfy a fitness test. The ICC says eliminating the needs test would enable it to replace many of its high-paid lawyers with less-expensive paralegals. Even better, says the ICC, it would save industry lots of money, because the ICC estimates it takes roughly four hours to fill out the applications and it receives about 2,500 of them a month.
It's all part of the "continual effort of the Reagan administration to shift responsibility for this sort of thing to the marketplace," said Davis. But Nelson Cooney, general counsel for the trucking association, said, "We have definite problems with that. It would virtually eliminate any entry control. Anybody could get into the business."