Davidson County residents could enjoy the convenience of having their auto emissions tested and vehicle registration tags renewed at a one-stop shop as early as this year.
John Arriola, Davidson County clerk, said he hopes to work with the Metro Council before August’s election to put the final touches on the pilot program, which would include a new vehicle examination site that allows individuals to renew tags at the same site their cars are inspected. He said the project could kick off in 2011.
“The idea that we can develop this pilot program somewhere in the city … we will be able to do the emissions and receive a sticker at the same time,” Arriola said. “It’s very exciting.”
The first step toward that end comes in the form an ordinance sponsored by Councilman Jim Forkum, who chairs the council’s Health, Hospitals and Social Services Committee, that would place the Davidson County Clerk’s Office in charge of overseeing the administrative functions of the vehicle emissions testing program, including the collection and processing of testing fees. Currently, fees go to an outside contractor.
The ordinance cleared the council’s first of three votes last week.
“This would give the county clerk the chance to not only be the person or agency in Metro that collects the money, but it would also let them implement some of one-stop shopping,” Forkum said.
Arriola, who characterized the concept as still in the planning stage, said the one-stop shop could add an extra fee charged to drivers, who already pay $9 for vehicle inspections and another $79 to renew their tags. He said he doesn’t have a handle yet on the amount of the additional payment.
The new program would be an alternative to the current system, which would remain in place for those who prefer it.
One hurdle for the one-stop shop is landing a new location, which Arriola said would likely need to be Metro-owned. Davidson County currently has six vehicle inspection sites, but none is equipped to handle both auto-emissions tests and tag renewals.
“I envision it being at a totally new location that would give us plenty of room,” Arriola said. “At the current sites, there are some restrictions. And that has been part of our problem. There is not a lot of room there.”
Finalizing the pilot program would likely require future legislation, he said, with plans of writing the new project into Metro’s code.
“I would like to see us [work] with this current council before the election,” Arriola said. “I could see us trying to roll something out this coming year.”
Metro has a contract with SysTech International through June 2012 to carry out the city’s auto emission services.
SysTech has sought to extend its contract with Metro, but a second group, Envirotest Systems, is vying for that contract and has pitched the idea of using new technology to allow the testing of vehicles while in traffic.
Lobbyists representing both groups are registered with Metro.