Northern Virginians who own old cars would no longer be exempted from state emissions tests, under legislation proposed by the State Air Pollution Control Board and to be introduced by Del. Mary Marshall (D-Arlington).
Cars are now subject to annual emissions tests for the first eight model years after the model year in which the car was built. Under the proposed legislation, emissions tests would have to be done only every two years but would apply to cars for 20 model years after the year in which they were made.
This would more than double the number of cars in Northern Virginia that must pass emissions tests before the state will reregister the vehicle, from 500,000 now to 1.1 million.
An official of the Air Pollution Control Board said that Northern Virginia remains out of compliance with federal air pollution control standards and has until August to satisfy the Environmental Protection Agency of efforts to correct the situation or lose federal highway funds.
State Sen. Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) objected strongly to the proposal at a meeting of the Northern Virginia delegation, saying that it would not improve air quality and would simply "put money in the pockets of station owners." Saslaw said he could not vote on the measure because he is a service station owner.
The proposal also would change waiver provisions. Currently, once a car owner spends $75 to make repairs intended to bring the car into compliance with emissions standards, he receives a permanent waiver from having to get the car tested again. The proposal provides for a two-year waiver, and the car owner would first have to spend $200 for repairs.