As N.J. considers privatizing auto inspections, contract extended for state examiner

    The contract for Parsons Corporation to operate the state-run vehicle inspection stations in New Jersey has been extended for three years. As the contract extension begins, officials are studying whether to privatize the inspection system.


    New Jersey drivers now have the choice of going to a private garage to have a vehicle emissions inspection for $20 or having it done without charge at a state facility.

    The $20 per vehicle cost for Parsons to do the job is funded by the motor vehicle fees drivers pay.

    Assembly Budget Committee chairman Vinnie Prieto asked Tuesday what would happen to that money if the inspections are privatized.

    “Would those fees go back to the residents or would they have to pay an additional fee or a new tax that would have to come out of their pockets?” said Prieto, D-Hudson.

    That’s still to be decided, said Ray Martinez, chief administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission.

    “There’s certainly the possibility that a rebate could be done,” he said.

    Martinez says more than 80 percent of inspections in New Jersey are done at the state facilities, but the nationwide trend is toward privatization.

    He said a consultant will examine whether to privatize the entire inspection system.

    “Depending on, frankly, input from the Legislature but evaluations of the consultants, certainly where are states going in this direction,” Martinez said. “Are they are moving toward fully privatized environments or does it make sense to maintain a hybrid environment?”

    The current inspection system seems to be working and there’s no need to change it, Prieto said.

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