Saturday, February 03, 2001

Tailpipe deal may be struck for Ky.

Question: How old can exempt vehicles be?

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNION — A Northern Kentucky lawmaker and state environmental officials may compromise on legislation that would exempt vehicles less than 4 years old from tailpipe testing.

        Environmental officials, including Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary James Bickford, oppose that bill — sponsored by Rep. Paul Marcotte, R-Union, and other legislation that would completely eliminate the tests.

        In an interview, Mr. Bickford said he could not support the Marcotte bill.

        In its original form, it would have allowed late-model cars to be exempt from the test. That would only increase the cost of the test on others, Mr. Bickford said.

        “The rates would go up on the number of cars that would have to be tested,” Mr. Bickford said. The bill was introduced last month.

        “So people who can least afford it, the ones driving the older cars, get to pay more.”

        Mr. Marcotte met last month with officials in Frankfort to discuss a bill he has filed that would allow owners of vehicles 4 years old or newer to skip the tests, now required of most vehicles every other year.

        But Mr. Marcotte said Friday that Mr. Bickford and other officials in the Cabinet may be agreeable to narrowing the scope of his bill and possibly allow cars just a year old to opt out of the $20 test.

        “I had one constituent who bought a new pickup truck and then just two weeks later received a notice that he had to have its emissions tested,” Mr. Marcotte said.

        “The attendant told him, "Oh, you passed with flying colors.' Well, no kidding. The truck was brand new,” he said.

        Exempting cars 4 years old and newer would total about 75,000 vehicles and force the cost of the tests to increase from $20 to $27, Mr. Marcotte said.

        Mr. Marcotte said the bill will be heard by a legislative committee later this month. The General Assembly goes into session Tuesday in Frankfort.


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