Emission test requirement, holiday weekend spur long lines
With emissions tests back as a must-do before getting a new license sticker, Illinoisans flocked to test stations Friday and waited, engines idling, in long lines.
The lengthy waits, typical at the end of the month, were likely exacerbated by the holiday weekend and Secretary of State Jesse White's suspending the requirement for a completed emissions test in December and reinstating it effective June 1. White acted because the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency temporarily stopped mailing test reminders last fall after money ran out due to the state budget crunch.
At the Elk Grove Village testing site, waiting cars snaked out of the parking lot into a busy road with some drivers reporting delays of up to one hour.
"I wasn't too excited about it," said Luke Rutka of Des Plaines. "I don't remember it being all that bad in the past. It was ironic ... we were waiting, idling for an hour and burning emissions. (The air) didn't smell too good."
David Montalvo of Bensenville was in line for 50 minutes. "What can you do?" he asked. "You have to be patient. It's a good thing everyone was there and everyone thinks it's important."
Montalvo also appreciated the fact he could purchase his vehicle renewal sticker at the testing site, a feature available at some locations.
"All test station lanes are open and staffed at the 14 testing stations in the Chicago area," IEPA spokeswoman Kim Biggs said.
She acknowledged the crowds at the facilities, noting "We typically see increases at the end of each month, and the holiday weekend is also likely a factor. As the end of the month passes, lines will likely decrease."
Drivers can also schedule an appointment at 40 appointment-only facilities in the region by calling (877) 927-7587.
You can check on wait times on the IEPA's website at epa.illinois.gov/topics/air-quality/mobile-sources/vehicle-emissions-testing/index.
The IEPA resumed mailing reminders April 6.