SPRINGFIELD, Ill.-Responding to a threatened cut of $710 million in highway funds by the Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar signed auto-emissions testing legislation Jan. 18. The measure requires vehicle owners in parts of the Chicago and East St. Louis metropolitan areas to undergo more frequent emissions testing.
The EPA threatened to cut off nearly $1.8 billion in highway funds to Illinois, California and Indiana for noncompliance with federal clean air requirements.
Gov. Edgar said he was confident the new law will satisfy federal officials. The bill requires emissions testing every other year in the state's pollution-plagued metropolitan areas.
Until now, vehicles made after 1987 have been tested after three and five years, and annually after seven years.
Under the new standards, about 400,000 more vehicles in the metropolitan areas will be subject to testing. Eleven new testing facilities also will be built-eight in the Chicago area and two in the East St. Louis area.
The new testing program will be implemented gradually and, by 1996, will cost about $40 million annually, according Tess Fyalka, a spokeswoman for the state EPA. The current system has cost about $22 million a year.