On May 30, Senators Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), Wayne Langerholc (R-Bedford), Pat Stefano (R-Fayette), Elder Vogel (R-Beaver), and Michele Brooks (R-Crawford) announced they are introducing a package of legislation to eliminate parts of the state's Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program.
The proposed changes include--
-- Exempt gas-powered passenger cars, vans, and light-duty trucks from the I/M program for the first eight years after manufacture in counties that require emissions testing.
-- Change the annual emissions testing to a two-year testing requirement for gas-powered passenger cars, vans, and light-duty trucks older than eight years in counties that require emissions testing.
-- Remove Blair, Cambria, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer and Westmoreland counties from the I/M program based on empirical evidence cited by the Joint State Government Commission.
-- Replace the outdated tailpipe test in Pittsburgh and the two-speed idle test in the Philadelphia region with a gas cap test and a visual inspection for model year 1994-95 vehicles.
-- Extend the transition date for existing emissions inspection stations who are required by PennDOT to obtain new emissions testing equipment by November 1, 2019.
"Pennsylvania has an outdated I/M program, and we should not require costly emissions testing if counties are meeting or exceeding air quality standards first established in the federal Clean Air Act amendments of 1990,” said Sen. Ward, who serves as the Majority Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. "Today, an average of 96 percent of vehicles pass the emissions testing, particularly due to newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles entering the fleet. Although we are meeting or exceeding federal air quality standards and fewer vehicles are failing the emissions testing, there has not been any action in recent years to modernize the I/M program.”
"These bills are the culmination of many years of work on this issue. From Senate Resolution 168 to public hearings, to meetings with stakeholders, we have advocated for the removal of emissions testing in counties that have improved their air quality and meet national standards,” said Sen. Langerholc. "We will not be deterred in our efforts, and we will continue to fight for the people of western Pennsylvania who have been saddled with this onerous requirement for far too long.”