Owen Blackburn Arnold, Better known as “O.B.” was born and raised in Franklin County. He began his career with the Kentucky Department of Motor Carriers as a Field Enforcement Officer. In 1956, after an administration change cost him his job, he was hired as Director of the State Taxes and Regulation Department of E & L Transport where he managed the licensing, permitting, regulatory compliance, and state taxation accounting for the firm’s 1,200 tractor-trailer units. The practical compliance experience he gained in that position, molded his future efforts to simplify the motor carrier taxation reporting and collection systems by states.
He returned to state government in 1959 where he held a variety of positions. When he retired in 1980, he was the Commissioner of Motor Transportation. Upon his retirement, he was retained by the Kentucky Motor Transport Association as its executive director.
While serving, he was chair of the Multi State Reciprocity Agreement Committee, Mr. Arnold proposed, and guided to adoption, the “apportioned base” license plate concept known as the International Registration Plan (IRP). Both “for –hire” motor carriers and private motor carriers could purchase one license plate in their home state or province and designate all other jurisdictions in which the vehicle would operate during the license year without placing any additional registration plates on the unit. The home jurisdiction would apportion the total registration feed among all the jurisdictions based on percentage of total mileage. Years later, the forty-eight contiguous states adapted Arnold’s plan to fuel tax permitting in a program designated as the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA).