'The DMV is bad enough.' Long waits at Nashville emissions testing sites may lead to end of program

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Posted at 4:47 PM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 19:32:33-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Long lines and not enough people working at vehicle emissions sites in Davidson County may lead to the end of the required emissions testing.

This month, Metro Council will consider ending the program. Metro Councilman Kevin Rhoten, who represents District 14, filed a resolution on Tuesday to end emissions testing in Davidson County.

Before a decision is made, Metro Public Health officials want there to be a plan in place.

"If we completely eliminate the vehicle testing program and EPA comes back and says you're out of attainment, and you've got to start it back up or you've got to come up with some way to offset these ozone levels, and we have to rebuild the infrastructure of putting the program back in place it's going to be a real tedious and expensive proposition," said Hugh Atkins, Environmental Health Bureau director.

In Davidson County, it is required at registration renewal time for residents to have their vehicles inspected at a certified garage or mobile site.

According to Atkins, vehicle emissions testing helps the city stay in compliance with the EPA's clean-air standard.

"Even cars that are designed to be more fuel-efficient and burn cleaner, as they get older they're not as efficient as they were designed, so it's good to test them," he said.

The idea set to go before Metro Council is said to propose ending the current emissions program, perhaps add roadside sensor testing instead and require testing less than once a year.

"It's more of a hassle than anything," said Cruise Cauvin, who had several cars in front of him at his inspection. "Like, the DMV is bad enough. Why are we also going to wait for our car that is running that we got here with [to be] in whatever shape it needs to be?"

Beginning next year, vehicle emissions testing will end for five counties in Tennessee. On Jan. 14, 2022, Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties will no longer require it.