Road Warrior Newsletter

August 6, 2010


Dear NJGCA Member:


This week marked the official start of the elimination of Safety Inspections from the state’s motor vehicle inspection program.

In anticipation of the switch, I was contacted by NJN News to do an interview on how the move away from Safety Inspections would impact small business owners and the motoring public.  Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I was unable to meet NJN reporter Joe Bisicchia.

Luckily, Joe and his film crew were in South Jersey and I contacted NJGCA Member Mike Baxter - who runs a repair shop in Egg Harbor Township - to represent small business owners like you in the broadcast.  My comments were included in the final broadcast, but Mike did an outstanding job speaking on our behalf.  Not only is he a good spokesman, but Mike runs a great operation and is very well respected in the community.  That’s one of the reasons that Mike was the very first person we did a Member Spotlight on in 2007 (CLICK HERE then scroll to Page 10 in the December 2007 edition of On The Road to learn more about Mike Baxter).

A very sincere THANK YOU to Mike for doing such a great job!  You can see the video of the broadcast by CLICKING HERE

Over the last few weeks we have reported on the Governor’s Privatization Task Force Report, focusing almost exclusively on the gradual privatization of the inspection program.

However, there certainly is a lot more to the report than just inspections – and just as in anything, it’s a mixed bag.  What does this mean?  That means that some things we may have to defend you against, while others present opportunities that you should be taking advantage of!

Two such issues are the privatization of rest stops on some major roadways and the privatization of mechanical services from the state motor pool.

The Task Force Report says that the Garden State should have private companies re-open shuttered rest stop areas as a way to raise revenue.  Currently a number of rest stops along 295 have been closed over the last few years due to budgetary problems.

In order to qualify for federal funding, federal law says that interstate roads that have rest stops can only provide bathrooms and vending machines – not gas stations or restaurants.  The reasons for this are obscure, but the result of violating the law is clear: You open a restaurant or gas station in one of these rest areas and you lose federal funding!

I know exactly what you are going to say: “BUT SAL THAT CAN’T BE TRUE!  The Parkway and the Turnpike have full-service rest stops!”  Well, that’s true, but in order to operate those rest-areas, New Jersey had to forfeit a portion of their federal transportation dollars and collect tolls to compensate.  That same arguably wouldn’t be able to happen on Routes 295, 80, and 78 --- All of which are cited for privatized rest stops by the Task Force.

Nevertheless, what would the consequences be if rest stops were permitted along these major roadways?  For one, it could hurt NJGCA Members who operate gasoline stations and convenience stores off those highways.  Currently if a motorist is looking for these services, they would have to get off Route 295, 80 or 78 and look for the nearest station or c-store.  That wouldn’t happen if full-service rest areas were permitted to operate on these roads.

So, unless New Jersey was willing to challenge the federal government on this front, the likelihood that privatized rest stops would be allowed to offer restaurants or gasoline stations are slim to none --- but it doesn’t mean that it COULDN’T HAPPEN at some point.  Keep your eyes peeled!

The second major recommendation calls for the privatization of mechanical repair services.  The report suggests that the State Treasury and the DoT should either fully or partially outsource the Central Motor Pool (CMP) and DoT Fleet Management to private entities.

New Jersey currently spends $32 million a year on fixing these vehicles in its own shops with state mechanics.  Over the last few years, there has been a limited move to privatize some of these services, which have yielded enormous savings for the state.  In fact, the private sector does it so much better and so much more efficiently, that they think they can save a minimum of $5 million a year by just increasing the number of vehicles serviced by private garages.

So what does that mean for you?  It means that this could potentially shape up to be a win-win situation: Taxpayers win by spending LESS money from public coffers and you could potentially make MORE money by servicing these vehicles. 

A few weeks back I wrote the following in the July 23rd edition of the Road Warrior:

It would be very helpful to me in our privatization efforts if you could accurately time how long it takes you to perform an EMISSIONS ONLY inspection.  Just don’t time one car and send it to me.  Instead, conduct emissions inspections on five or six cars and email me the time results for each.  For those of you who do bench tests regularly, send me this timed-information as well at

I will need to eventually present the shortest to the longest time-frames for an average inspection when meeting with state officials and Legislators.  I’m counting on you to help me get real-world numbers to make my case. (You can read more by CLICKING HERE)

Since I wrote that I’ve had discussions with MVC Administrator Ray Martinez on how we can properly implement a full-privatization of the state inspection program.  While our talks are ongoing, one thing keeps coming up --- How long does it take to do an emissions only inspection?

Well, guess what?!  I DO NOT HAVE AN ANSWER!

That’s right boys and girls, I ask you collectively to get back to me with information so I could begin to compile that information.  Problem is I have not heard FROM ANYONE with the five or six examples I need.

Don’t get me wrong; I know you are all busy and I know how rough it is out there. BUT I simply CANNOT do my job effectively if you don’t get me the tools I need to help you!

Do me a favor – Please email me the times and information so I can start to build a case with the Administration!

And what case is that?  Well, you should know that every state that has a privatized inspection program either sets a flat fee or puts a ceiling on how much you can charge.  I’m trying to avoid that at all costs.  What I propose – and what I have discussed with Administrator Martinez – is to create a “fee” based on time.  So for example, for a routine inspection you can only charge a maximum fee of ½ an hour of whatever your hourly rate happens to be. This will not only help you stay more profitable, but help you stay competitive and draw cars into your shop.

Keep in mind that we’re talking about 2 million cars a year that need to get checked – not exactly a tiny number and it will provide you with an additional opportunity to service the motoring public!

So, send me your current fees to do an EMISSIONS ONLY inspection, as well as how long it takes you to perform that inspection.  Pretty please.  With sugar on top if necessary – but just send me what I need so we can get the ball rolling!

Lastly, over the last few weeks we have reported in our News Around the State section of our e-newsletter that Massachusetts recently passed the Right to Repair Act in their state senate.  The bill recently moved onto the Massachusetts House of Representatives but unfortunately fell short.  To those of you keeping score, we faced a similar situation here in 2008 when we passed our Right to Repair bill in the Assembly, but ran out of time before the end of the Legislative session to get the bill passed in the Senate.

We hope to re-visit this in the months ahead, but unfortunately, the legislature doesn't seem to be in the mood to talk about anything other than budgetary items.  In fact, they are already prepping for next year’s budget! That doesn’t mean that the issue goes away, so stay informed!

Thanks for reading and see you next week!!

Sal Risalvato
Executive Director 

 IN THIS WEEK’S NJGCA ROAD WARRIOR                                    


•Participate in the NJGCA PAC today and help us keep our Agenda rolling in Trenton!

•Assembly Committee to talk about projected deficit
State residents more optimistic
Small Businesses worry that health-reforms will not benefit them
Opinions are mixed as Safety Inspections disappear

 ON THE NJGCA HOMEPAGE                                                           

Check out all of our MBPs and Programs designed to SAVE YOU MONEY!

Looking for something? Take a look at our list of useful links!

Find all our communications and search for old e-newsletters. Take a look!

Need to catch up on events?  Want to see what's going on?  Find out here!

 KNOW YOUR TERRITORY MANAGER!                                           

Henry Darden: Territory Manager for Middlesex, Union, Part of Essex (Southern Half)

Cell: 973-477-0057

Jack Leli: Territory Manager for Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, Salem
Cell: 732-995-1637

Bob Quirk: Territory Manager for Bergen, Hudson, Part of Essex (Northern Half)
Cell: 201-214-8836

Frank Stewart: Territory Manager for Morris, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Passaic
Cell: 973-234-7403
Don Stohrer: Territory Manager for Monmouth, Mercer, Somerset
Cell: 732-539-2955



New Jersey Gasoline C-Store Automotive Association (NJGCA) is offering the ETEP course that your ERTs need in order to recertify their license.

Our Course includes:
• New Jersey State Specific Information Course
• ETEP Section 6 “OBDII Monitoring Failures”
• Section 7 “Light-Duty Diesel Vehicle Technologies and Testing”.
Everything your technician needs to Re-Certify his ERT license!!!

• NJGCA Member rates: $489.00
• NON-Member rates: $629.00

Springfield - Union County (TWO DAY CLASS)
Class to be held at NJGCA Headquarters
66 Morris Ave.
Springfield, NJ 07081
August 12th & 19th
8:00am to 4:00pm

New Jersey Gasoline C-Store Automotive Association (NJGCA) is offering an INITIAL ETEP Certification course. This is the entire program, section 1 – 7. This is everything you need to become a licensed Emission Repair Technician.

Our Course includes:
• New Jersey State Specific Information Course
• Section 7 “Light-Duty Diesel Vehicle Technologies and Testing”.
Everything to become an Emission Repair Technician!!

Springfield - Union County (EIGHT FULL-DAY CLASSES)
Class to be held at NJGCA Headquarters
66 Morris Ave.
Springfield, NJ 07081
September 16th – November 4th (Every Thursday for 8 weeks!)
8:00am to 4:00pm

• NJGCA Member rates: $1,495.00
• NON-Member rates: $1,695.00


PLEASE NOTE: We are always in the process of putting together additional classes. If you are interested in taking classes in this time period, please call NJGCA and let us know so we can add you to the list.

Call Debbie Hill to enroll in the classes at or call 973-376-0066.


Ensuring our friends in the legislature are re-elected and advocating for our agenda in Trenton are of utmost importance to the agenda of NJGCA.

It is for this reason that your Association has established the NJGCA PAC.

For too long, the weight of funding our Political Action Committee, the arm of the Association responsible for political donations, has rested upon the shoulders of a few.  This is not fair to them, and it is not fair to many of you who are relying on the benefits of good legislation being passed in Trenton.

To truly understand the importance of fundraising for our allies, let’s look back upon the overwhelming successes of the last year:

NJGCA successfully lobbied against BELOW COST SELLING. If approved, BELOW COST SELLING would have cost each of you thousands of dollars and put many of you out of businesses.  NJGCA leaned on some of our friends in the Assembly and literally had the bill pulled off the floor on the day it was scheduled to be voted on.  Our friends in the Legislature helped us get this accomplished.

NJGCA made history and led the charge to pass the most comprehensive protection of franchisees in decades with FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL legislation.  FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL passed only because NJGCA and dealers throughout the state were able to lean on several friends in the Assembly and the Senate.

NJGCA has been rallying support for RIGHT TO REPAIR over the last two years among key legislators.  This would end the practice of car manufacturers denying you the codes necessary to complete the repairs you make on your customers cars.  Every state has tried to pass RIGHT TO REPAIR and no state has even been able to get the legislation out of committee.   Because of our friends in the Legislature, NJGCA has been successful in getting this bill passed by the Assembly and now awaits a vote in the Senate.

I am asking some of you as individuals to make a contribution and attend a fundraising event sponsored by one of our friends in the Assembly.

However, we will not be able to host events for all of our friends, so the NJGCA PAC will have to make contributions.  You will be receiving letters soon from the NJGCA PAC asking you to make contributions. 

If every member contributes just $100.00 we will be able to provide the help necessary to ensure victory for our allies.

66 Morris Avenue
Springfield, NJ 07081
Please make your donation payable to NJGCA PAC

I understand that times are tough for all NJGCA members, but this is just as important as any battle we have fought in the past.

We have made great progress in Trenton.  I hope that you will answer the call. 


Assembly Committee to talk about projected deficit
With this year’s budget crisis over, state Legislators are now looking forward to next year’s projected $10.5 Billion dollar budget shortfall.  Instead of the typical legislative break, Legislators are expected to hold hearings throughout the rest of the summer.

State residents more optimistic
A recent poll conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson/PublicMind has found the 42% of state residents believe New Jersey is finally on the right track, an improvement of 7% since May.  Meanwhile 47% approve of Governor Christie’s performance during his first six months in office.

Small Businesses worry that health-reforms will not benefit them
While many small business owners in New Jersey continue to struggle to offer healthcare benefits to their employees, many feel that the recent reforms signed into law by President Obama will not help improve an already difficult situation. Despite the promise of tax credits to offset healthcare expenses, premiums continue to rise, wiping out any savings to small business owners. While healthcare premiums rose by 75% over the last decade in New Jersey, employers traditionally have shouldered 80% of that burden.

Opinions are mixed as Safety Inspections disappear
The elimination of Safety Inspections has sparked a wide range of reactions among state residents.  Some believe that they are simply un-necessary, while others feel it is the only way to keep unsafe vehicles off state roadways. Click above to read more.


Serving the small businesses that serve the motorist