Texas Spends $100M to Clear the Air
The Dallas Morning News reports the Lone Star State is spending $100m to get gas-guzzling, smog-spewing old cars off the road in the metro DFW and Houston areas. The program, which began taking applications last December, provides vouchers to low-income families who have cars that are at least 10 years old. The vouchers can be used as a down payment on a new or late-model used car ($3K voucher) or up to one-year-old hybrid ($3.5K) at dealers who participate in the "Air Check Texas" program. It's a pretty popular program, as you can imagine. Freeman Toyota has sold 80 cars to voucher holders so far, and Lone Star Chrysler-Plymouth-Jeep has 50 sales completed or pending, most of them used car sales. The program is expected to exhaust its funds for this fiscal year by summer, but there are already funds set aside for FY09. Justifiable environmental intervention or a greenwashed subsidy for local car dealers? We report, you kvetch.
As a resident of Texas, I have to say that people that drive cars old enough to participate in the program either A. Have a classic beauty that they drive around infrequently, or B. Drive the old cars because they don't have the money or credit to buy a new car (College Students, Impoverished, elderly). So the program really doesn't work. Unless you find a way to buy a car with food stamps.
At least they are giving enough money for it to be useful. The $500 car scrap programs are a joke, because $500 does nothing to help get into a good car. $3000 is a serious bit of change which can cover 1/2 the cost of a good used 3 year old Taurus.