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Legislative

Wisconsin Proposes Changes to Emissions Inspection Program

State’s Department of Transportation will hold hearing.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) has scheduled a hearing on Aug. 12, 2010, to discuss proposed changes related to the state’s vehicle emissions inspection program.

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Currently, the Wisconsin DOT must administer a motor vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance program for cars in non-attainment counties to establish that vehicles meet motor vehicle emissions standards. Certain provisions of the statute allow the department to "waive compliance with emission standards if the vehicle owner proves that despite attempted repairs, the vehicle cannot meet the standards and that the actual costs of repairs exceed the repair cost limit."

The state assumes that the malfunction indicator light (MIL) will turn off after adequate vehicle repair. Previously, the agency had issued other methods of testing emissions regardless of MIL status. Now the department only offers the on-board diagnostic (OBD) test, which the Wisconsin DOT has determined is contrary to the state’s statute because it does not allow issuing a cost waiver to all tested vehicles, regardless of what was spent on repairs. The proposed amendment to the current rule involves allowing a cost waiver even if a MIL cannot be turned off. The Wisconsin DOT will receive comments regarding the proposal through close of the business day of the hearing.

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The proposed changes can be viewed on the Automotive Service Association’s legislative website.

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