The Emissions Lie is Costly

To point out the dishonesty of Colorado’s emissions testing system may well force me into the company of another great heretic, Galileo. But it seems time someone identify just some of those actions by the state which are directly opposed to the state’s claim for the need for this high speed revenue lane into the pockets of political donors. Moreover, the claims of the need for emissions testing are in direct contradiction to nearly every single “solution” to automobile pollution the Colorado Department of Transportation has undertaken since the passage of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR).

To understand the relevance of the reference to Galileo one needs look no further than any current media coverage of the “consensus of scientists” which have chastised anyone who dares to question the scientific evidence – proven to be falsified- to support the issue of “man-caused” global warming.

Now I digress for a moment to emphasize that I am not disputing global climate change, I am only pointing out that the much of the data has been falsified.

So it happens that some 400 years ago Galileo was tried and sentenced to life under house arrest for suggesting the Earth orbited around the Sun. His suggestion and the science he offered in support contradicted the “consensus” of astronomers and church leaders. Of course we know now the “consensus” was absolutely wrong.

Truth has a long history of standing in contradiction to beliefs. Today the platitudes supporting emissions testing as a means to achieve clean air are as misguided as those 16th century religious scholars citing the Bible as evidence of Earth’s position in the universe. Yet these statements of faith that sound so good as debate points are not even considered valid by the same government that happily collects emissions testing fees under the banner of cleaner air. If government leaders actually believed auto emissions were a serious source of the Denver area’s poor air quality most of the staff at the planning division of the Department of Transportation would have been fired more than a decade ago.

To illustrate just one of several egregious examples of the Colorado Department of Transportation acting in direct opposition to the concept of reducing automobile pollution look no further than any new roadway expansion project. What you see is a toll lane reserved for the very few who can afford the adjustable tolls. Worse still, these tolls are adjusted higher and higher during the exact times when the automobile traffic is peaking and slowing.  It doesn’t take much thinking to understand that thousands of idling cars stalled in traffic jams will certainly produce more exhaust emissions than if those same cars were able to move quickly along and reach their destination where the engines are shut off completely. The extra lanes could move more cars in less time but instead their purpose is to generate toll dollars. What is even more insulting to everyone paying any attention at all is that Colorado has given away many of these valuable highway lanes to private enterprises. Under these so called public-private collaborations the lane operators are able to put emphasis on profit well before any concerns about reducing air pollution.

As for the testing itself, since its inception in the 1980’s when lead-based gas was being phased out and oxygenated gasoline was not yet developed for widespread distribution, testing has come and gone. State after state has recognized the process was no longer of any value. A 2013 editorial in the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington urged ending the testing a year and a half earlier than its original ending date in 2020. The Spokane area began testing in 1985 when the air quality in the area was ranked among the worst in the country. Much of the pollution was known to be from inefficient wood burning stoves. Nevertheless, city officials tried improving the air quality index numbers by reducing downtown parking, adding turn lanes and even moving monitoring stations to less busy intersections with fewer idling cars. Limited progress was made until the 1991 introduction of oxygenated gas and improved emissions recirculation systems in engines finally started the upturn in air quality. As the number of vehicles from the 1980’s became insignificant, legislators began shifting emissions testing revenue to the general fund where money, “wisely spent to facilitate traffic movement might well-reduce emissions more than testing, which itself cleans nothing.” (Spokesman-Review)

Money “wisely spent” might well improve Denver air quality but it seems that spending money wisely will continue to be nothing but a pipe dream until the current leaders of Colorado’s government are replaced with thinkers and planners who put citizens needs before bureaucrats’ bonuses.

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