NJ: Costly plan submitted to remove "computer gremlins" and other problems from auto inspection program

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Parsons ''recovery plan'' delivered but not released

By Associated Press, 2/18/2000 19:49

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) The contractor running New Jersey's auto inspection stations on Friday delivered a ''recovery plan'' detailing how it will end the long lines that have plagued New Jersey motorists.

However, Whitman administration officials refused to allow the report to be made public, saying it must first be reviewed by regulators.

Parsons Infrastructure and Technology's plan for action carries a big price tag. State officials last week said they were withholding a scheduled $10 million capital construction payment from the firm because the plan was not finished.

The auto inspection system has forced long lines at many stations since it was implemented to help New Jersey meet its federal mandate to clean the air. The Whitman administration says Parsons fell down on the job, but Parsons officials maintain that state officials also bear some of the blame.

Parsons officials were poised to release the report on Friday, but were told by the state they could not.

''They say it's a contractual document that shouldn't be released,'' said Carl Golden, spokesman for Parsons.

Treasury Department spokesman Mary Lou Murphy said officials need time to review it.

Murphy could not say how long it will take officials to review the recovery plan, or when it will be made public. State officials say the $10 million capital construction payment, due last Friday, won't be paid until Parsons submits its plan to remove computer gremlins, build more lanes, increase staffing and take other actions designed to ensure that the lines won't return when the tougher test is implemented again in June.

Democratic lawmakers said the Whitman administration should have released the documents on Friday.

'Once again, the public is being forced to wait in a long line for some answers,'' said Assemblyman Neil Cohen D-Union. ''Instead of engaging in secrecy, the Whitman administration should be trying to clear the air about all the problems in this new auto inspection program.'' Link:


-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), February 18, 2000

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