In 2016, EPA awarded DAQ $5 million out of $20 million available through its Targeted Airshed Grants program. The funding was earmarked to help Provo and Logan meet federal air-quality standards for wintertime particulate pollution. The grant money funds two $2.5 million projects over a five-year period.
DAQ used the grant to replace 33 school buses in Cache and Utah counties and fund a Vehicle Repair and Replacement Assistance Program in Cache County to help qualifying owners repair or replace vehicles that fail emissions testing. Each award was for $2,447,250.
The anticipated lifetime emission reduction from the school bus replacement program is 130.66 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 10.76 tons of particulate matter (PM2.5). The anticipated lifetime emission reduction from the Vehicle Repair and Replacement Assistance Program is 99.69 tons of non-methane organic gas (NMOG) and NOx, and 0.51 tons of PM.
In January 2018, EPA awarded over $3 million to DEQ for reducing diesel emissions from local heavy-duty diesel trucks in the Logan PM 2.5 Nonattainment Area. Over the next five years, public and private fleet owners may use funds for the early retirement of Class 5-8 local diesel trucks. The truck replacement projects are estimated to reduce emissions over 94 tons per year and over 1,790 tons over the lifetime of the project.
Success Story: Vehicle Repair and Replacement Assistance Program (VRRAP)
The Cache County Vehicle Repair and Replacement Assistance Program (VRRAP) provides funding assistance to individuals whose vehicle is failing vehicle emission standards to either replace their failing vehicle with a newer, cleaner one or to repair it. The program is administered by the Bear River Health Department and made possible through a grant sub-award from DAQ.
An individual whose vehicle does not pass an emissions test may receive financial assistance to replace the failed vehicle with a newer, cleaner one or to repair it so that it passes a subsequent emissions test. The amount of financial assistance depends on household income, household size, and whether the applicant chooses to replace or repair the failed vehicle. Financial assistance can be as high as $5,000 for a vehicle replacement or $1,000 for a repair.
As of September 30, 2018, the program has repaired 261 vehicles and replaced 33 vehicles.
One of the education and outreach components of the Vehicle Repair and Replacement program is a biannual Clean Car Clinic in Franklin County, Idaho, an area bordering Cache County. The clinics, hosted by the Bear River Health Department, are open to Franklin County residents. Car owners are encouraged to complete a voluntary emissions inspection on their vehicle at the event. If the vehicle fails the inspection, the program provides owners with the opportunity to receive incentives to repair or replace their dirty vehicles.
The first Clean Car Clinic was held in Franklin County Clean Car Clinic on October 27, 2017. Nine vehicles were tested during the event. DAQ air-quality scientists were available to talk with a number of individuals who did not bring their vehicle to the event and explain the program and the air-quality impacts from dirty vehicles. DAQ issued three repair vouchers and two replacement vouchers out of the nine vehicles tested. One participant even worked with West Motor Company to select a newer vehicle while the event was taking place.