Budgeting problems and bureaucratic red tape are hampering Illinois’ efforts to test and ticket big rigs emitting too much black smoke.

According to the Chicago Tribune, two months after troopers received the go-ahead to ticket truckers on the spot for operating dirty rigs, the state still hasn’t purchased the meters police need to do the checks. In addition, only 2,500 of the 50,000 local trucks the state estimates should be tested this year have been screened since the program began July 1.
Legislators say when the General Assembly passed the laws designed to clean up trucks, they didn’t anticipate such sluggish results, the paper reported.
After years of efforts by environmental groups, the tests were approved in 1999 to force trucks to undergo emissions testing similar to that required by passenger vehicles.
Motorists in the Chicago and East St. Louis metropolitan areas must get their cars tested every two years because pollution exceeds federal clean air requirements. Until this year, trucks were not included in those emissions-testing laws.
The law, which authorized state police to begin spot testing on Oct. 1, was signed by the governor in June.
Dave Sanders, state police spokesman, said authorization doesn't mean the testing had to begin on that date. But legislators say they thought it did. Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), told the newpaper that the three-month lag behind the start of annual testing was to give state police time to implement the spot-checks.
The state's trucking industry lobbied against the bill. The Illinois Transportation Assn. called the new regulations unnecessarily burdensome, since engines built after 1991 already meet tough federal emissions standards. The association urged lawmakers to limit the testing to older trucks.