December 6, 1994
Senator Christopher J. McCabe
404 Senate Office Building
Annapolis, MD 21401
Dear Senator McCabe:
I am outraged by what I read in the Baltimore Sun of November 27,
1994, regarding Maryland's new auto emissions testing. I am only
encouraged that this travesty can be revisited by the fact that your
fellow Senator Philip C. Jimeno, with whose office I have already
spoken, intends to address this issue at the outset of the new
legislative session. I sincerely hope you join him in this endeavor
and work mightily to get this (ob)noxious instrusion out of the lives
of the taxpaying public and my many friends, co-workers, and others who
I have heard express their extreme displeasure.
I am concerned with the following facets of this program.
- It hits hardest at low income taxpayers among all
generations -- those who maintain older autos -- and particularly the
younger generation who struggle with exorbitant auto insurance rates
and the burden of establishing homes and careers (yes, I have two sons
in their early 20s); the older generation on fixed incomes; and low
income persons and families everywhere who, while perhaps not heavily
burdened by taxes, maintain a meager existence from month to month at
or near the poverty level. Yet this program promises expenses of as
much as $450 in 1997, not to mention that it could be as high as $700
if their autos should fail in 1995 and again two years later in 1997!
According to the Sun article, the test threatens failure of 300,000
autos a year which in 1995 at $250/auto is a resounding $75M, $105M in
1996, and $135M in 1997! That is certainly one way to keep money
flowing through the Maryland economy. (Please pardon the sarcasm.)
- I am deeply concerned by the testing method. Any tampering
with an auto engine or its external components raises the prospect of
damage, particularly the treadmill test. This is not a failsafe
procedure. Nowhere have I been able to discover liability for damages.
Accordingly, I must assume that the auto owner will bear this expense
as well. If liability does accrue to the state, it can only be paid by
tax dollars. I am categorically opposed to this instrusion to my
- By what legislative procedure was $97M approved for this
program? Was any consideration given to appropriating this money for
industrial pollution control? Was any consideration given to "taxing"
the public an additional fee, e.g., the difference between today's fee
of $8.50 and the new $17 fee -- to contribute to industrial pollution
control? It galls me to no end to know we have spent this amount of
tax dollars already and the air is not one microcosm cleaner.
- What do you suppose our state administrators plan to do
with existing emissions test facilities? Are they destined to become
dinosaurs or monuments to the taxpayers?
As an aside, I note a firm from Nashville, Tennessee, was
contracted for this endeavor. Can I suppose that no Maryland firm was
available to provide the facilities and service? And I am to accept
that some portion of the fees Marylanders pay will benefit Tennessee if
not directly then through tax dollars there?
You are right in believing that the consternation does not arise
solely from a vocal minority. The populace is concerned -- as I am --
by pollution, but in rational and reasonable measures, and not by
another offensive intrusion into our wallets and property. I note that
Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have not yet undertaken a program
to meet the EPA-mandated standards. I must assume their legislators
are taking a more cogent and measured approach to this matter.
I would very much appreciate your help and answers to the
- Please arrange to have someone inform me of the consequence
of non-compliance with this auto emissions test.
- Your voting record on any aspect of this specific matter
and the position(s) you have maintained relative to pollution control.
- What you intend to do about it now.
This is but another example of why voters everywhere are angry and
frustrated. The message of November 8th must take hold. Please make
this a priority in your legislative agenda.
Dean R. Wood
4530 Ten Oaks Road
Dayton, MD 21036