House Bill 172 would have replaced E-Check with a less intrusive tailpipe test and required counties in affected areas to come up with other air pollution reduction strategies. The E-Check program is required in 14 Ohio counties, including Portage.
Voinovich said he objects to replacing one test with another.
"Worse, the proposed test is insufficient to meet federally mandated clean air requirements," he said.
Voinovich said he has read many letters and talked to residents frustrated by the current program and he is committed to improving it.
"I clearly explained to the private contractors who operate the program that it was bad enough the federal government, through the Clean Air Act, was forcing us to do this program, but it was even worse to add insult to injury by doing a poor job of running the operation," Voinovich said.
The governor announced the veto this morning at the Kenyon Center for Environmental Study.
In Portage County, E-Check has been under fire since it was imposed two years ago. Testing began January, 1996 for county residents.
County commissioners have passed a resolution calling for the program's elimination from the county and State Rep. Ann Womer Benjamin of Aurora wanted the county removed from the test area after Portage was redesignated as having attained pollution goals.
The program is also blamed for a loss of $100,000 in license fee revenues for county roads. County Engineer Michael Marozzi told commissioners earlier this year that the number of vehicles registered in the county has decreased since E-Check began, causing a drop in revenues for his road repair funds.
In April, Portage County's state representatives, Womer Benjamin and
Twyla Roman of Springfield Township, voted against replacing E-Check
with the basic tailpipe test. Roman said she voted for her district and
her district is against testing.