Department of Transportation

Fee for paper processing of required reporting

Currently the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requires railroads to report safety data. Much of this information is still submitted in paper form, even though the mechanism exists for electronic submittal. But the government just allows this. Furthermore, we pay contractors to process the paper forms into electronic forms for storage in our database. There is no need for this expensive step when the capability is there to bypass paper forms. To dissuade paper submissions, the federal government should institute a penalty in the form of a fee to process paper forms. This will help offset the costs of process the paper forms, reduce paper waste and most importantly will get the information to end-users (e.g., analysts, policy makers, etc.) much faster. I suspect there are areas across all agencies where this can be explored. To be specific, this is intended for corporations or industries wherein information is required to be collected by law. This is not intended for individuals submitting forms such as tax returns or census data. In my opinion, there is no reason multi-million dollar companies with even a minimal IT infrastructure cannot submit information electronically.

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Idea No. 7956