Release: Maine Policy Thanks Gov. Mills for Voicing Opposition to LD 2032
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2022
Contact: Jacob Posik
Director of Communications
Maine Policy Institute Thanks Gov. Mills for Voicing Opposition to LD 2032
LD 2032 never received a public hearing, would double the inspection fee on Mainers amid 40-year record inflation, and was crafted behind closed doors by special interests
PORTLAND, Maine – Sen. Bill Diamond today moved to table LD 2032, a bill that would double the annual motor vehicle inspection fee from $12.50 to $25. A spokesperson for Gov. Janet Mills told the Portland Press Herald that if the bill reached her desk, she would veto it. Maine Policy thanks Gov. Mills for voicing her opposition to LD 2032, which was on track to be passed under the hammer in both chambers until Maine Policy raised the alarm about the bill earlier this week.
“While the bill is still alive, we’re hopeful the governor’s opposition to the bill will result in it never reaching her desk, or for the bill to be amended to strip the provisions related to a doubling of the inspection fee,” said Maine Policy CEO Matthew Gagnon.
Maine Policy has serious concerns with both the content of the bill and the process by which it advanced through the Maine Legislature.
The Transportation Committee last year agreed to convene a working group to study the issue of annual motor vehicle inspections in response to a flurry of bills that proposed to de-regulate the inspection process. Unfortunately, the working group convened by the committee was comprised primarily of individuals who have obvious conflicts of interest, as they benefit financially from, or their employment has ties to, Maine’s motor vehicle inspection program. Not a single member of the working group supported deregulating the inspection process despite the lack of evidence that these programs result in safer roadways.
The final report produced by the working group is deeply unserious. It uses 2018 modeling data (rather than hard data on motor vehicle crashes and fatalities) to conclude the program saved 51 lives in 2020 – the same year that vehicle inspection expirations were extended due to the state of emergency declared by Gov. Mills in response to the pandemic. There was effectively no legal requirement to get your vehicle inspected in Maine for the majority of 2020.
This fact alone invalidates the working group’s findings, but more troublesome is the fact that LD 2032 never received a public hearing and Maine citizens were not afforded the opportunity to provide input to their lawmakers on the doubling of the inspection fee. The bill was printed by the Revisor’s Office on March 24, 2022, the same day the bill was passed to be engrossed under the hammer in both the House and Senate, ensuring virtually all members of the Legislature (except members of the Transportation Committee) had no idea what they were voting on last Thursday.
Further, a fee hike on annual vehicle inspections moves Maine in the wrong direction on this issue. Maine is among a minority of states that require annual inspections of motor vehicles. Only 20 states require annual or biennial inspections of noncommercial motor vehicles. There is no hard data that supports the presence of a vehicle inspection requirement results in fewer accidents or fatalities on roadways caused by mechanical defects.
Proponents of the program solely rely on anecdotes to make their argument. They say an inspection requirement is necessary because of the snowfall we receive and the treatments we use on our roadways. However, the states of Alaska, Connecticut, Michigan, Minnesota, and North Dakota see equivalent or similar levels of snowfall annually, have similar road treatments, and maintain safe roadways without an annual vehicle inspection program.
The fee increase contained within LD 2032 would be an unnecessary burden on Mainers who are currently struggling to afford groceries, gasoline, and other everyday necessities. Inflation is currently at a 40-year high and is crushing the most economically vulnerable Mainers, who would be hurt most by a doubling of the annual inspection fee. Asking them to pay more at a time when they are having trouble making ends meet, for no verifiable purpose, is irresponsible and outrageous.
In March 2021, Maine Policy published a policy brief titled “Sticker Shock: Maine’s Burdensome Vehicle Inspection Mandate” that delves deeper into our arguments against Maine’s vehicle inspection program.
Maine Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to expand individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Learn more about our work at www.mainepolicy.org.