NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Council members unanimously decided Tuesday night it would end Nashville's vehicle emissions testing.
The program will officially end Feb. 4. Council members decided to wait 30 days, in order to give the Metro Public Health Department time to end the contract with the company that conducts the tests.
Council members were cleared to make the change after the EPA notified Tennessee back in August that it was allowed to end those programs under new guidance. Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson Counties are all ending programs on Jan. 14.
The Davidson County Clerk's office is expected to provide guidance soon to residents who have tags that expire before Feb. 4. However, Council members encouraged people with registration due in January to still get the test.
Supporters of the change said the program has been inefficient due to long lines and staffing shortages at testing sites.
"I think it’s the right time for us to end this program," said Metro Council Member Kevin Rhoten. "We have cleaner vehicles and not requiring folks to sit in line to do this. I think it's the right time."
Prior to the vote, Hugh Atkins, who oversees the program says, vehicle testing no longer removes as many toxic fumes as it did back in the 80s and 90s.
"It’s not as critical as it once was, certainly," said Atkins, the Bureau Director for Environmental Health Services for Metro Public Health.
However, Atkins still believes it serves a purpose.
"That is dependent on people maintaining their cars the way they’re supposed to and emissions capability working the way it’s supposed to and that’s one of the things you got from emissions testing," he said.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper also expressed his support in ending the program Tuesday afternoon before the vote.