A joint Illinois House/Senate Legislative Commission has authorized the state's Auditor General to conduct an investigation of the I/M-240 vehicle emissions testing (I/M) program, due largely to vehicle damage claimed by motorists for which the program contractor, Envirotest Illinois, refuses to pay.

The Auditor General is asked to consider whether the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adequately monitoring the test contractor operations and handling of complaints and also to compare I/M-240 with test methods used by other states that have much-reduced potential for damage.

Certain to be considered by the Illinois Auditor General are recent findings of a Colorado Auditor's report that concluded that “even if the (Colorado I/M) and oxygenated fuels programs are discontinued in 2001, there will be little short- or long-term term impact on (light-duty vehicle) CO, HC and NOx in the Denver area.”

Also, Colorado's governor now has agreed to a way for motorists to pay a reduced fee for emissions tests administered by drive-by sensors, which are expected to eventually excuse a large percentage of vehicles from onerous visits to I/M-240 test stations.

Rather than paying $24 per year every two years for an IM-240 test, Colorado motorists will pay a separate $7 annual fee for the test contractor to operate the drive-by sensors and remaining test station operations.

WEVTU is told Colorado officials were delighted by the recent news that a new NASA technology for drive-by sensing has been licensed to SPX Corp., Portage, MI (see WEVTU — Aug. 1, '00, p.6), because this ends the monopoly position Envirotest has had in the drive-by field, having acquired the only two companies that have made the equipment for the past several years.