Opinion: Has Montpelier lost its mind?

  • Published in MyView

By George T. Gardner

Recently, some of us have heard that Montpelier has entered a new centralized state vehicle inspection system. To my knowledge the mandate was not discussed by the state Legislature but rather dictated by the Department of Transportation.

Essentially, all the state vehicle inspection stations would be required to buy a software package at a cost of nearly $2,000 that would convey information gathered from the inspection to a centralized, computerized bank in Montpelier. Should the vehicle owner seek another inspection or opinion from another station, the reasons for declining the previous inspection would be highlighted in the centralized computer system or as it may be said, “etched in stone” in Montpelier.

Clearly this new computerized system will be very hard on small one- and two-man garages, hard on the poor, while notably benefiting the large vehicle dealerships who promoted the centralized system.

Certainly, I support some local inspection of brakes, tires and ball joints but the litany of problems, abuses and costs the new system creates will be very onerous for many of us and particularly onerous for the poor.

At a time when the term “Orwellian” has been well used to describe the terrible state of affairs of our national government, it should not be forgotten that Vermont has lost local control of its school system to a centralized system, while maintaining some of the highest taxes in the country. In addition, the state has lost thousands of jobs, has seen its youth leave the state and maintained a near zero population growth rate since 2015.

On the other hand and comparatively, a small number of accidents may result from a poorly inspected vehicle. However, this type of problem pales when compared to other forms of vehicular deaths and accidents caused by human error, speeding, alcoholism and drug addiction.

With all of these serious and ponderous if not expansive problems, Vermont should be seeking a simpler form of governance and not a more centralized one. Perhaps it is time to move to New Hampshire.

Gardner lives in Warren.