STATE LAWS in with the New

Article excerpt

Starting today, Jacksonville motorists will get their best view yet of the state's required tailpipe emissions tests -- from the rearview mirror.

The tests became history today as more than 100 bills passed by the 2000 state Legislature took effect as new laws. The tests also have ended in the other emissions- burdened counties of Broward, Dade, Hillsborough, Palm Beach and Pinellas.

The change is long overdue for the millions of motorists who have paid $10 annually since 1991 for air pollution tests that proved to do little good at an inflated cost.

Only about 16 percent of the vehicles failed when the testing started, and the rate eventually dropped to 6 percent. Even though organizations such as the American Lung Association opposed the move, state officials concluded last fall that the tests had not been measuring nitrogen oxide, the real source of smog in Florida, and the Legislature ordered its demise.

Worse yet, the state had been unfairly tapping the pockets of test takers for more money that was needed to run the program. State figures show that motorists chipped in more than $100 million than was needed over the years to cover the program's vendor and administration costs. …