N.J. Proposes Stopping Car Inspections of Newer Vehicles to Cut Budget


car-inspectionNew Jersey drivers would no longer be required to have their vehicles inspected every two years under a proposal by the Motor Vehicle Commission, a move that could save the state $12 million. In addition, drivers whose vehicles are five years or younger would be exempt from emissions testing under the new plan. The current exemption is for vehicles four years old or younger.

The cost-cutting proposals were brought up at an Assembly Budget Committee hearing last night in Trenton regarding the state’s transportation budget.

Motor Vehicle Commission chief administrator Raymond Martinez said the mechanical inspection failure rate of 6 percent wasn’t enough to justify the expense of the program. Twenty-nine states do not do mechanical inspections, he said.

“Most people who have problems with their windshield or have problems with their brakes don’t wait for the every two years,” Martinez said.

He said the elimination of the mechanical inspection program would save $12 million. Parsons is paid $21.95 per test.

In another cost savings example, shortly after he became New Jersey’s transportation commissioner this year, Jim Simpson began asking questions about the Department of Transportation’s “aviation department.”

Simpson, a pilot himself, was surprised to learn that the department had five SUVs and five employees to inspect the state’s 45 airports or wait for the next accident – when the Federal Aviation Administration of National Transportation Safety Board never once asked for one of the department’s files.

Simpson soon made it a one person department and deployed the other employees elsewhere to stretch resources in a cash-strapped department in a cash-strapped state.

“We’re doing that department by department by department,” Simpson told the state Assembly Budget Committee last night in Trenton, likening the transportation budget to a mosaic.

With Gov. Chris Christie opposed to raising the state’s gas tax, increasing tolls or going further into debt, Simpson and other state transportation officials are looking for new ways to save money.

Simpson is looking at privatizing interstate rest areas and selling naming rights to service areas on the New Jersey Turnpike.

“We are … bringing an entrepreneurial approach to the department that questions the status quo and seeks cost savings,” Simpson said. “Metrics are the key to running a large organization. If you’re not measuring, you’re not managing.”

Unlike the more cantankerous education budget hearing that preceded it, the transportation hearing was cordial.

While complimenting the transportation panel for being the most prepared yet, Assembly Budget Committee chair Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden), expressed concern that the “pay as you go” budget philosophy could lead to a crumbling infrastructure and tragedy like the Minnesota bridge collapse three years ago that killed 13 people.

“I don’t want to create a Doomsday scenario, but what happened in Minneapolis could happen here,” Greenwald said.

Still, he praised the transportation panel members for their willingness to answer questions.

“We’re not looking for the answers we want – we’re just looking for answers,” Greenwald said.

{NJ.com/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. There should be no more inspections on any car. they’re a waste of time and money. And if my car lens is cracked and I tape it up it should not be the state’s business, because it works well enough and I am not shelling out $200 to fix a lens on a ’91 car which otherwise runs very well.