(a)The Secretary of Transportation may charge a fee under section
9701 of title
31 for providing information to or requesting information from the vessel identification system, except to—
(1)an agency; or
(2)a State making information available to the Secretary under section
12503(a) of this title.
(b)The Secretary shall deposit amounts transferred or collected under this section in the general fund of the Treasury as proprietary receipts of the Secretary and ascribed to the vessel identification system.
This section contains the authority for the Secretary to charge a fee under the user charge law, 31 U.S.C. 9701, for providing information to or requesting information from the vessel identification system. Fees may not be charged under this subsection to an agency or a State that is participating in the vessel identification system maintained by the Secretary.
Under subsection (b) of this section, the Secretary may collect an annual fee of not more than $1.00 from the owner of a vessel of the United States under 31 U.S.C. 9701 for the vessel identification system. Since vessel owners will benefit from the vessel identification system, such as from documentation of ownership data and stolen vessel tracking, this fee is designed as a maintenance charge to owners for this service. The collection of the annual fee may be delayed by the Secretary, and an agency, State, or person may be employed to collect the fee under subsection (c). The Committee expects that the Secretary will make agreements with States to collect this fee at the time of vessel registrations. The term of these registrations varies from one to three years as permitted by chapter
123 of title
Under subsection (d) of this section, if a State is employed to collect the fee, the State may retain one-half of the amounts collected, and must transfer the remainder to the Secretary. The amounts retained by a State may be used to cover the costs of making vessel identification information available to the Secretary. This includes upgrading or establishing titling systems as well as making improvements and other changes to vessel numbering systems to make information available. Because States are allowed to make improvements to their vessel titling and numbering systems with the amounts retained under this section, the costs of those programs may decrease. This could result in a corresponding decrease in State numbering fees and offset vessel identification system fees paid by vessel owners.
1990—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 101–595redesignated subsec. (e) as (b) and struck out former subsec. (b) which read as follows: “In addition to any fee under subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary may collect an annual fee of not more than $1.00 from the owner of each vessel of the United States under section
9701 of title
31 for maintaining the vessel identification system. However, the collection of that fee may be delayed under conditions prescribed by the Secretary.”
Subsecs. (c), (d). Pub. L. 101–595struck out subsecs. (c) and (d) which read as follows:
“(c) The Secretary may employ any agency, State, or person to collect the fee established under subsection (b) of this section.
“(d) If a State is employed to collect a fee under subsection (c) of this section, the State may retain one-half of the amounts collected. A State shall transfer one-half of the amounts collected under subsection (b) of this section to the Secretary.”
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 101–595struck out subsec. (f) which read as follows: “The amounts retained by a State under this section may be used to make information available to the Secretary and to pay incremental administrative costs.”
Annual Fee Prior to Jan. 1, 1992
Pub. L. 100–710, title I, § 104(e)(1),Nov. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 4751, provided that: “Before January 1, 1992, the annual fee under section
12505 of title
46, United States Code (as enacted by section 101 of this Act), is $1.00.”
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