Canyon lawmaker seeks to cap emission repair costs for Idaho motorists with dirty vehicles

Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, says Canyon County has been particularly hard hit by the economic downturn and seeks to cap at $200 per year the amount an owner must invest in repairs to comply with the state air-quality testing law in place in Ada and Canyon counties.

McKenzie said some constituents want to repeal the law altogether, which was very unpopular in Canyon County when the Legislature approved a state motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program in 2008. Lawmakers passed the law because they feared the Treasure Valley might fail to meet federal air quality standards and risk losing federal funds as a result.

Rather than seek repeal, McKenzie said he wants to accommodate motorists who can't afford a new vehicle. His bill would allow a one-year waivers for non-compliant vehicles, but require that owners spend at least $200 each year on emission repairs to keep them on the road.

"The effect is going to be de minimis," McKenzie said, adding that he expects non-compliant vehicles will mostly be retired. "Nobody wants to spend $200 a year forever and not fix the problem."

The testing law applies to vehicles built in 1981 or later. Vehicles less than five years old are exempt.

Senate Bill 1231 was sent to the full Senate for amendment Thursday by the Transportation Committee. McKenzie will offer two amendments to his original bill. The first is lowering the cap from the $250 in the current bill to $200, the figure currently in a Department of Environmental Quality rule that offers a similar exemption. Also, McKenzie wants to remove a provision in current law that gives the director of the Department of Environmental Quality authority to continue, modify or terminate the program after five years. McKenzie wants that power in the hands of lawmakers, not the executive branch.

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You have to spend at least $200 toward the problem but you don't have to fix the problem? Sounds like the makings for some auto repair scams.
If DEQ already has an exemption, why is there a need for legislation?

I don't know?

Go ask mother?


It's still clunky and the writing is horrible as usual


Repeal by any other name....

What bugs me the most is

What bugs me the most is that you have a county (Ada) and soon (Canyon) who are allowed to revoke a person’s state license plate at the county level with no court appearance. If we have inspections that allow the penalty to be the loss of the vehicle on the road for the entire state then the entire state should be required to have emission testing. Otherwise the failure of passing the emission test should have no bearing on the State License plate and Registration.

catalytic converter

The missus' 12-year-old minivan has the "check engine" light on. Due to a worn-out catalytic converter. A repacement is $650 or so, plus another $100 or so to install it.

I'm confident the car still complies with actual exhaust emissions standards... but the inspector guy can't even put the wand in the exhaust pipe because the computer says the converter is faulty.

So... could I drive on forever, since it's a $750 fix?

And if a smoke-spewing decrepit sled would cost more than $200 to get repaired, THAT driver is good-to-go, as well?

Is the point of the emission regulations to have clean air, or to force inspections and repairs?

Catalytic Converter

Boise Muffler. Around $250 installed

Is this how they get around a smoking ban?


It's still clunky and the writing is horrible as usual