The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Vouchers help fund clunker replacement

By Season Weeter/reporter

Older vehicles are worth more to owners in Dallas, Tarrant and several other counties in North Central Texas since December.

In an effort to reduce air pollution, Texas is issuing vouchers in amounts of $3,000 and $3,500 in exchange for retiring and recycling of old clunkers.

Cars and trucks that have failed emissions tests or are at least 10 years old qualify for replacement under this new program—providing income and other guidelines are met.

“This new program is designed to get the oldest, dirtiest, most pollutant cars off of the road and destroyed to never be used again,” Terry Clawson, spokesperson for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said in a Collegian interview.

Dealerships began signing up for the program the first week of December. Clawson said participating dealerships are likely to see profit increases in 2008 and have agreed to provide the means for destroying and/or recycling the worn out vehicles.

“Most cars will be recycled completely, so the new program will reduce smog and not adversely affect other environmental concerns,” he said.

In 2004 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated several counties in North Texas as nonattainment for ozone qualities in accordance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards: Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall and Tarrant.

Pollutants from cars and trucks are one of the four main sources of ozone precursor emissions causing problems.

Originally, the Air Check Texas Repair and Replacement Assistance program provided people who made less than 200 percent (gross income) of the federal poverty level with financial assistance for vehicles that failed the emissions test.

Air Check Texas paid no more than $600 per vehicle for emissions-related repairs or $1,000 toward a replacement vehicle. The program was ineffective, reports say, because the amounts offered were not enough to entice vehicle owners and the income requirements were too low according to lawmakers.

The new program provides assistance to those closer to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

Guidelines for income in the new program are set as net income instead of gross income.

These changes mean a single person with a capped net income of $31,000 per year can qualify for the assistance. A family of four with a net income of $62,000 will also qualify.

Other provisions of criteria include 12-month registration of the vehicle prior to application, clear title on vehicle, recent failure of emissions test and proof of passed emissions test within 15 months of application for vehicles 10 years old or older.

If requirements are met, the replacement assistance will be $3,000 for a car up to three model years old; $3,000 for a truck up to two model years old; or $3,500 for a hybrid vehicle of the current or previous model year.

For a list of cars and trucks eligible to be purchased and more information, call 800-913–3321 or visit www.driveacleanmachine.org.

Net income guidelines that MUST be met:

# in Household Maximum Income per Year
1 $36,630
2 $41,070
3 $51,510
4 $61,950
5 $72,390
6 $82,830
7 $93,270
8 $103,710
9+ Add $10,400 for each additional member


Vehicle guidelines that MUST be met:
Current vehicle qualifications
1. Vehicle must be a 1998 model or older OR your vehicle must have failed an emissions test (all model years)
2. Vehicle must pass a DPS Safety Inspection within the last 15 months
3. Vehicle must be a gasoline engine (not diesel)
4. Vehicle must have been registered in a participating county for 12 months

 

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