To read the May 14, 2014 letter from Sal Risalvato to Governor Christie urging the closure of Central Inspection Facilities, please click HERE.
When Governor Christie took office in January 2009, he made it clear that he would be looking everywhere for ways to cut state spending from its unsustainable levels. He created a “Red Tape Review Commission” to carefully go through and figure out which aspects of government were too burdensome to businesses and the state.
NJGCA Executive Director Sal Risalvato testified at one of their hearings on the topic of motor vehicle inspections, and his testimony was eventually adopted into their report largely unchanged. In his testimony he laid out a comprehensive plan that would have involved closing all the state run Central Inspection Lanes and having all safety and emissions inspections be done at private inspection facilities.
Not only would this plan have provided significant benefits to hundreds of small businesses, it would have also save the state millions of dollars. Ultimately, the Governor decided to go in a different direction and instead completely eliminated safety inspections. NJGCA came out strongly against this proposal, but ultimately it was narrowly enacted anyway.
Though there are no longer safety inspections, emissions inspections are mandated by the Federal Government. Although NJ permits motorists to have their vehicle emissions tests performed at Private Inspection Facilities (PIFs), most motorists opt to have their vehicles inspected at State run Central Inspection Facilities (CIFs), costing New Jersey taxpayers over $35 million every year.
In May 2013 the state finally announced what their decision would be regarding the emissions inspection program. For years NJGCA has been lobbying for a complete privatization of inspections. Originally MVC had planned to announce the future of the program around December 2011.
Since that time there has been a tremendous amount of back and forth behind closed doors between the various government agencies regarding what the future of the program should look like. What exactly happened or what was said by who is unknown to us and the rest of the public, but it seems clear there were some significant disagreements.
The original contract with Parsons was scheduled to expire in May 2013, but it included a provision for a contract extension of up to 3 years. MVC has decided to extend the current contract for the full 3 years, meaning there will be few differences in how inspections are run for the near future.
During public testimony before the Assembly Budget Committee, MVC Commissioner Ray Martinez made clear that complete privatization was being seriously considered by the Christie Administration as a solution once the contract expires in 3 years. As expected, it was also made clear at that hearing that there would be some opposition to a privatized inspection program among some members of the Legislature.
All of New Jersey’s neighbors require motorists to have their vehicles inspected at private facilities only. NJ can save millions of dollars a year by ending its unfair competition with over 1,000 small businesses that operate PIFs. By closing the CIFs and requiring all inspections to be performed at private shops, New Jersey can also then sell the valuable real estate now occupied by state inspection lanes.