SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) Acting Director Alec Messina today announced upcoming changes to the Agency’s Vehicle Emissions Testing Program, which will offer more efficient and less expensive tests. The new testing contract also includes numerous added motorist conveniences including flexible scheduling and expanded hours on Saturdays.
“The Illinois EPA is streamlining the Vehicle Emissions Testing Program as a result of a new testing contract that will take effect on November 1, 2016,” said Acting Director Messina. “The new network will include changes to some testing locations while also providing added convenience for motorists including a second test position in each lane at most centralized stations, decreasing wait times significantly.”
The new network will provide a core system of 10 high capacity, two-position On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) testing facilities (*except Schaumburg and Swansea). Inspection and Repair (I&R) facilities will supplement the network and will not require appointments for an emissions test. In the Chicago area, there will be 10 centralized emissions testing stations and six I&R facilities. In the Metro-East St. Louis area, there will be two centralized emissions testing stations and three I&R facilities. A complete listing of stations is attached.
“In addition to more efficient and less expensive tests, the new contract will save Illinois taxpayers at least $11 million each year, and nearly $100 million over the life of the contract,” added Messina.
Though some motorists may have a different drive to a testing station, no motorist will have to drive more than 12 miles to reach a testing station, which is specified in state statute. An analysis of the new network indicates that some City of Chicago motorists will, on average, have to drive an additional four miles to reach a testing station, but many motorists will have shorter drives. The new network is designed to ensure it can handle expected demand and that each inspection facility is appropriately sized to accommodate expected testing volume within its coverage area.
As a result of the network changes, there will be four centralized test stations in the Chicago area and one centralized test station in Metro-East St. Louis that will close as of November 1. Those stations are:
• Chicago, 6959 West Forest Preserve Drive
• Chicago, 1850 West Webster Avenue
• Elk Grove Village, 2450 Landmeier Road
• Tinley Park, 7460 Duvan Drive
• Wood River, 230 North Old St. Louis Road
Other motorist services will also be modernized and made more efficient. As of November 1, motorists will be able to receive valuable program information by scanning quick response (QR) codes with a mobile phone. QR codes will be available in the lanes and station offices and, once scanned, will take the motorist directly to the Air Team website to request exemptions or extensions from the testing requirement. Motorists will be able to apply for these exemptions and extensions online (without having to mail or fax an application) and submit comments and other claims online. Additionally, there will be a live chat feature on the website for motorists to receive quick answers to questions.
Registration renewal services are also now offered at centralized testing stations as a convenience to motorists. Motorists can purchase their vehicle registration stickers at these stations once they have complied with the testing requirements. Beginning November 1, testing stations will have expanded Saturday hours, opening at 7:30 a.m. rather than 8:00 a.m.
The Federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 requires emissions testing programs in large, metropolitan areas which do not meet certain federal air quality standards. In Illinois, though significant progress has been made, levels of air pollution in Chicago and Metro-East St. Louis areas still exceed these standards. Most 1996 and newer gasoline-powered passenger vehicles are subject to testing after they are four years old. Specified 2007 model year and newer heavy duty trucks are also subject to testing.
Vehicles begin testing when the vehicle is four years old; also, even model year vehicles are tested in even years while odd model year vehicles are tested in odd years. For example, in 2016, Illinois EPA began testing 2012 vehicles for the first time, and in 2017, the Agency will begin testing 2013 vehicles. An estimated 1.9 – 2.1 million vehicles are tested each year.
The Illinois EPA and its contractor are committed to providing motorists with a convenient, efficient, and effective vehicle emissions testing experience. Motorists can find additional information on the Vehicle Emissions Testing Program including the closest vehicle emissions testing location at www.illinoisairteam.com.
Centralized Stations as of November 1, 2016:
• Bedford Park, 5231 W. 70th Place
• Crystal Lake, 195 Liberty Road
• Joliet, 3501 Mall Loop Drive
• Lincolnshire, 580 Bond Street
• Markham, 3824 W. 159th Place
• Naperville, 435 Weston Ridge Drive
• Schaumburg, 1675 Mitchell Boulevard*
• Waukegan, 2161 Northwestern Avenue
• Pontoon Beach, 1000 E. Chain of Rocks Road
• Swansea, 4200 Trade Court*
• Addison, 425 S. Lombard Road
• Skokie, 3555 Jarvis Avenue
Inspection & Repair Stations as of November 1, 2016 (address information will be announced when the stations begin testing on November 1):
• South Elgin
• Homer Glen
• Park Forest