published Thursday, February 28th, 2013

No need to test?: New vehicles exempt in Tennessee proposal

Emissions tester Mark Johnson searches for a tailpipe on a Chevrolet S10 truck Wednesday at the vehicle emissions testing facility on Riverfront Parkway in Chattanooga. The Tennessee Legislature is considering a bill that would exempt vehicles less than three years old from emissions tests.
Emissions tester Mark Johnson searches for a tailpipe on a Chevrolet S10 truck Wednesday at the vehicle emissions testing facility on Riverfront Parkway in Chattanooga. The Tennessee Legislature is considering a bill that would exempt vehicles less than three years old from emissions tests.
Photo by Doug Strickland.

NASHVILLE — Vehicles less than three years old would be exempt from Tennessee's vehicle emission test under legislation co-sponsored by three Hamilton County lawmakers.

Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson R-Hixson; Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga; and House Transportation Committee Chairman Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, have put their names on the bill that would apply to owners of vehicles in Hamilton County and five other counties where emissions testing is mandatory.

In a news release, Dean called the proposal a "commonsense bill. "

"There is no need to test these cars," he said.

Watson said the bill dovetails with efforts to "make government more efficient and consumer-friendly."

Bob Colby, director of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Cars and trucks with gross vehicle weights of up to 10,500 pounds in Hamilton, Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson Counties currently must pass emissions tests before owners can buy their tags each year.

The aim is to improve air quality by reducing vehicle emissions.

The Hamilton County Commission adopted emissions inspections in 2005 after the county failed to meet federal Environmental Protection Agency ozone standards. The county contracted with Envirotest to perform the inspections at $10 apiece.

Meg Lockhart, with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said in September that the current contract will end June 30 and the state will be taking bids, according to newspaper archives.

The legislation has been assigned to the Senate Transportation and Safety Committee and the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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