CANYON COUNTY — Vehicle owners who fail emissions tests in Canyon County can apply for repair and hardship waivers that allow them to operate their vehicles for a year without getting tested again.

But since the emissions testing program started in Canyon County in June 2010, only 82 residents of Canyon County and Kuna were granted such waivers. Of those 45 were hardship waivers and 37 were repair waivers, according to Idaho Department of Environmental Quality figures.

Ada County grants about 500 hardship and repair waivers a year, Ada County Air Quality Board Director Dennis Turner said.

Canyon County lawmakers Rep. Gayle Batt, R-Huston, and Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, want residents to be more aware of the waiver option.

“These are people that don’t have jobs, they can’t get their vehicles fixed,” Batt said.

Emissions test station operators are aware of the waivers, but they are not required to inform owners whose vehicles fail the tests about the waiver options, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality airshed manager David Luft said.

How do the waivers work?

For the hardship waiver residents must prove their inability to pay for repairs to pass the emissions test. Upon completion of a hardship application, they can get a one-year test waiver. This can be granted two times, each for one year, after test failures. After a third test failure owners can apply for a repair waiver.

The repair waiver requires vehicle owners to spend at least $200 toward repairs to their vehicles to pass the emissions test. If the work is done and the vehicle still fails the test, the test will be waived for one year upon completion of an application. (Normally vehicles are tested every two years.) Owners could be approved for repair waivers each year.

What if you have been asked to get a second test in less than two years?

Because Canyon County emissions testing began in the middle of 2010, some vehicle owners will be asked to get a second emissions test before two years have passed. But owners in this situation can get a six-month extension by calling 373-0582. After this year the testing will be required once every two years.

Working on improvements

Canyon lawmakers met with officials from SysTech International, the company that operates emissions testing in the county, last month to talk about how customer service can be improved. Concerns were also brought up that vehicle owners received notices stating they faced losing their vehicle registrations because they had not been tested when they were never mailed notices that their vehicles were up for inspection. That problem is being resolved, Crane said.

When is my emissions test?

Drivers in Canyon County and Kuna can find out the date their vehicles are scheduled to be tested by visiting www.idahoVIP.org and entering their license plate number under the “Test Due Date” option or by calling 1-866-623-8378 (toll-free). SysTech International in Nampa is at 1636 E. Plaza Loop. Its local phone number is 468-9710.

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