The City of Memphis says it's out of the vehicle emissions testing business, and has passed that burden on to the state.
The default many politicians were expecting would be a takeover and expansion of the testing program, that a fee would be charged, and citizens outside Memphis would have to wait in the long lines at the testing centers.
But, state Senator Brian Kelsey has filed a bill to try and guide the situation. The goal of senate bill 1046 is to either eliminate the emissions testing requirements altogether, or allow people to go to an approved mechanic or garage where the testing can be done.
"We would give them a lot more convenient locations, but obviously if I can keep Shelby County residents from having to go through the emissions testing period, that's the goal. There's little evidence that with our modern vehicles, the inspection process does any good for the environment," says Kelsey.
The state is involved because last year the City of Memphis opted out of funding the program, to save about $2-million a year. That pushed the responsibility to the County, who turned it over to the State.
Councilman Shea Flinn, who supported the move, says it's up to the State how to carry out the EPA regulations. He just hopes it's fair to Memphians, "The point we've been making on the Council side of it is that this is not a Memphis created problem or a problem that only effects Memphis. Currently and historically, Memphians have been the only ones paying in both taxes and in time."
The City of Memphis will officially be through with running the emissions program in July. The State and the County are working out how to run the program after that.