(Memphis) There will be no more car inspections after 3 p.m. tomorrow. The city of Memphis is out of the vehicle inspection business and the four vehicle inspection stations will close.
The city no longer wants the responsibility of testing for emissions, and neither Shelby County nor the state of Tennessee is willing to take it over.
This means drivers don’t have to worry about getting their vehicles inspected at all because there’s no one to do it.
It could save you time and money now, but it might cost us all in the long run.
“I kind of hate that I paid this much to get the windshield fixed and tomorrow I could have waited. It could have been more money in my pocket,” said Nico Hayes, Memphis.
Hayes wanted his car to pass the vehicle safety inspection, so he shelled out $142 to repair the windshield. Had he or any of the other drivers going through inspection Thursday waited one more day they could have renewed their tags without an inspection.
Monroe Gibbs told us he could have slept in.
There’s no plan in place for what happens next for motorists.
The city, county and state are all waiting on the EPA to step in and decide who’s responsible for testing.
One thing to remember: Money for certain transportation projects is tied to emissions testing and clean air. Fall below a certain standard, and the EPA could levy millions of dollars in fines and restrict new businesses from locating to the area.
Gibbs said, “That would be bad for our city because we definitely need the money.”
As for how long this could last, likely no longer than September 2014.
That’s when the EPA is scheduled to set new air quality standards for Memphis. The EPA will also likely take up the issue of who’s responsible for testing then.
However, right now, no one will touch it, not even the governor.
Gov. Bill Haslam said, “We were willing to run it but we don’t pay for it anywhere else so it’s not fair for us to pay for it here.”
There are about 40 employees affected by the closure. Of that number, 11 are taking an early retirement. Eighteen are being offered severance packages. A few were hired into other city jobs, and the rest will be eligible for unemployment benefits.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact Martha Lott, Director of General Services at 90-.576-6326.