The recent letter to the editor from Roland Seguin concerning the AirCare program contains many inaccuracies.
It seems Roland Seguin has been getting his information about the AirCare program [AirCare: Time to let go, Aug. 30 Letters, www.langleyadvance.com] from a popular internet source which, unfortunately, contains a lot of misinformation posted by contributors without confirmation of accuracy.
The truth is that AirCare is a user-pay, revenue-neutral program designed to identify and correct vehicles that are polluting excessively.
By legislation, the AirCare test fees can be set no higher than what is needed to recover the operating cost of the program. All funds collected from motorists at the time of inspection must be applied to the operation of the program and to no other purpose. Therefore, someone who doesn't own a vehicle pays nothing towards AirCare.
Since only vehicles older than seven model years are required to be tested, more than 40 per cent of the vehicles registered in the Lower Mainland also pay nothing to AirCare.
The AirCare program is delivered under contract to TransLink by a private company, Envirotest Canada. The contractor, employing about 150 British Columbians, will be paid $14.65 million in 2012 to operate the 10 inspection centres and 32 inspection lanes. There is no guaranteed profit margin.
Pacific Vehicle Testing Technologies, a subsidiary of TransLink with 11 employees, administers the testing contract, provides technical support to the repair industry, analyzes program data, and reports on the effectiveness of the program. The cost of these administrative functions, also covered by the inspection fees, varies from year to year, but is generally less than $2 million.
Reports containing statistical data on every year of the program's operation since 1992 are available on the AirCare web site at www.aircare.ca. TransLink also publishes financial data about AirCare in its public reports. Fluctuations in test volumes means that the program tends to alternate between making and losing money over the years, but the goal is always to reach a net zero result at the conclusion of the program.
Since 1992, the AirCare program has been effective at reducing vehicle-generated emissions. In fact, approximately 930,000 individual vehicles have failed an AirCare inspection at some point over the past 20 years. In addition to identifying excess-emitting vehicles, AirCare has worked closely with the repair industry to enhance the skills of automotive technicians so that failing vehicles can be effectively repaired.
Dave Gourley, General Manager, AirCare
[Note: A fuller version of this letter is online at www. langleyadvance.com.]