Half Of Program's Funding Disbursed, NBC 5 Reports

POSTED: 6:08 pm CDT April 22, 2008
UPDATED: 6:26 pm CDT April 22, 2008

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The state of Texas is willing to help some drivers make a down payment on a new car in an effort to clean up the air by getting rid of dirty exhaust. But the program has proven so popular that the funding may soon run out.

So far, more than 17,000 North Texans have applied for the program and half of the $22 million allocated for the program has been disbursed.

One of those hoping to take part in the program is Angel Walker, whose 1994 Mitsubishi is without air conditioning.

"It's old. It's hot. I'm sweating now," said Walker.
Walker would like to trade her old car in for a new one --specially one whose air condition works.

With the help from the state, thousands of North Texans like Walker could receive $3,000 for a newer car if they traded in their old one.

The logic behind the program is that the state figures older cars are more likely to pollute the air and that by getting them off the road in favor of more enviornmentally friendly versions they can help reduce pollution.

"If you've got an old 10-year-old car thats blowing black smoke all over the road, we'll get them a new car and we're not going to be breathing that air anymore," said Shawn Muller of AutoMax.

Car dealerships are now taking trade-ins that they would normally turn away. "I had one that I couldn't even give 5 cents for, but three grand? It's in," said Muller. "It gives a chance for people that don't have $3,000 cash to put down to make their deal happen."

Of course, there are restrictions for the program including income and where drivers live. Also, if a voucher is obtained, the purchase must be for a car made in the year 2005 or later.

The state is also offering $3,500 toward a hybrid vehicle from participating auto dealers and up to $600 in repair assistance.

To see the restrictions, click here.