Vetoing Maryland VEIP

Governor Larry Hogan took a good first step in fixing Maryland’s broken Vehicle Emission Inspection Program on Friday by announcing two 24-hour a day, 7-day a week self-service inspection stations so that consumers don’t have to rearrange their day to go to an existing inspection station.

Notice I said it was a good first step. It’s not what should be the last step. Let’s face it; the VEIP program stinks. You drive your car every two-years to a VEIP station, a contractor plugs some things into your car, and a few minutes later you find out what you already knew; your car passed! The contractor collects $14 from you and away you go. There’s nothing positive that one can say about the emissions program.

The being said, some Facebook warriors think that Governor Hogan has not gone far enough with the VEIP program. They believe that that VEIP program should be shuttered immediately by Governor Hogan. That of course is not an option for anybody who thinks about the program for longer than 15 seconds. Otherwise, they would realize that it’s State Law that such a program exist. Feel free to read §23–201 through §23–209 of the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code if you disagree.

I’d love for Governor Hogan to magically make VEIP go around. Except he can’t. Because the VEIP program is the law and, unlike Democrats, we don’t go around ignoring laws just because we don’t like them. That’s partially why the Governor got elected in the first place.

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However, that does not mean that we as conservatives can’t do something about the VEIP program.

Republican legislators have the opportunity to stand up for taxpayers and stand up for common sense government by moving to gut the Vehicle Emission Inspection Program. This would save taxpayers the time and hassle of going to VEIP inspection stations every two years. It would save money from the state budget, to reduce the costs of the having to keep open 13 inspection sites every year. And it would save the environment? How? One of the recommended provisions prior to getting your vehicle tested is to drive the vehicle for twenty minutes prior to the commencement of the test. Which approximately 900,000 vehicles tested every year, that’s up to 6 million hours of driving annually, and up to 240,000 gallons of gas per year consumed just on taking the test.

Now, there are some obstacles to overcome in order to repeal the VEIP program. As the Administration Press Release notes, “The Federal Clean Air Act requires the testing of vehicle emissions, and in Maryland, vehicle emission systems inspection is required every two years.” However, it wouldn’t be the first federal environmental mandate to be challenged in court and then be overturned due to zealous enforcement by the Environmental Protection Agency.

All of this, however, is for naught unless an enterprising Republican legislator takes up the challenge of dealing with the VEIP program. We have many good, solid conservative legislators who can articulately make the case that the VEIP program is both challenging to tax payers and environmentally problematic. To show that we can be responsible to taxpayers and responsible with our environment at the same time. And I can think of a few Delegates and Senators who would be better served introducing this kind of legislation than some of the small ball nonsense that some of them have been pushing.

Governor Hogan has done what he can. It’s up to Republican legislators to take the ball from here. We encourage you to encourage them to Veto VEIP.

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