Some initiatives should not be undertaken.  A primary consideration: the level of difficulty or expense of getting it up and running relative to the ultimate benefit or payoff of the initiative.

Killing off an initiative that’s running effectively?  Painful to watch.

Premise of this entire post: beautifully clear, blue skies and clean, mountain air are significant selling points to those considering moving to or even visiting the Pikes Peak region.

When I arrived in Colorado Springs in September 2006, I had to have my vehicle’s emissions tested prior to earning a Colorado license plate.  I was registering a 1997 Dodge Stratus, neither a new nor high-quality vehicle.  The $25 test seemed reasonable and fair.

I was among the last people to have his or her car’s emissions tested.

These tests had been required in El Paso County since 1982, either annually or bienially depending on the age of the car.  These tests were killed off when the program that required them (which had the fantastic acronym AIR) expired.

Primary arguments in support of eliminating emissions tests: advances in fuel and engine technologies made emissions cleaner and regional air quality was within federal safety standards.

My thoughts about continuing the program: a network of test-providers had been built – just about every auto service shop could execute it.  The program was apparently effective.  The county got a cut of each test; why cut off even a modest source of funding?  Federal safety standards and general air quality “improvement” is an extremely conservative goal.

As the entire Front Range continues to develop into one Megalopolis from Fort Collins to Pueblo, the beauty of our region and health of our neighbors should remain top concerns.  Why settle for simple, measurable “improvement?”  Why not seek perpetually cleaner?

From a marketing standpoint, why shouldn’t the Pikes Peak region aspire to and work toward “the clearest skies in the Rockies” or the “cleanest air in the West?”  Colorado is as much as state of mind as it is a physical place or U.S. state; inspiring, majestic views and impossibly blue skies are the foundation of this concept.

To connect back to the introduction: I understand not initiating an emissions testing program because it’s complicated and costly.  However, I can’t understand killing one off once it’s successfully up and running.

Rather than kill the program, modifications would have been preferred by this writer and local resident.

Two obvious, potential modifications: limit the age of cars that require testing, excluding the newest vehicles completely – and/or – extend the periods of time between required tests from one or two years to three or four years.

Once the program is killed, all momentum is lost.  When we lose our views to haze or suffer more respiratory ills, the program will be much more difficult and costly to reinstate.

Further reading:

Press Release: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Newspaper Article: Colorado Springs Gazette from BNET (contains additional, related links)