Maine Bill Would Raise Inspection Fees to Create Automated System
Written by Brent Addleman, The Center Square
Published July 5, 2023
A bill that would create an online vehicle inspection database run by the state police is the focus of a Maine bill that would raise fees on residents.
Legislative Document 900, sponsored by Rep. Bruce White, D-Waterville, would be taken back to the drawing board in the House of Representatives after the measure passed in a slim 74-68 vote in June. It was defeated in the Senate, 30-2.
If enacted, the bill would raise inspection fees to $20 from $12.50 or $20 from $18.50 for Cumberland County residents. White said nothing would change about what is inspected on vehicles.
In an exclusive interview with The Center Square, White said garages haven’t seen a raise in what they get for inspections in more than 20 years.
“Around $2.50, roughly, would pay for the program, so it would not cost the garages,” White said. “The garage would get the additional $5, and we feel they deserve it. So, it’s really about modernizing and getting up with the times.”
Jacob Posik, director of communications for Maine Policy Institute, said the bill would increase fees on Maine residents at a time when the state is flush with cash.
"When negotiating how to spend another $900 million in the supplemental budget, it's unconscionable to increase fees on hardworking Mainers, particularly in the current economic environment,” Posik said in an exclusive statement to The Center Square. “The Senate made the right decision in soundly defeating LD900. The bill would have stopped Maine consumers from shopping around for inspection services and given the state police a new tool through which they could likely pull someone over, neither of which is something Mainers want their lawmakers to pursue. Lawmakers should be moving to deregulate this system, not make it more onerous for the average Mainer."
Maine Policy Institute said the records about one inspection center giving a different estimate than another inspection center could lead to the “state police having recourse to rescind the inspection license” of one center and could cause Maine residents to spend even more on repairs.
“This system would create a perverse incentive for mechanics to charge you for everything and get as much out of you as possible, to the detriment of consumers---particularly low-income Mainers,” Posik said.
White said going with an automated online system would save the Department of Public Safety $100,000 per year in postage fees, and it would take one to two years for the program to be implemented.