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A program encouraging people to retire their older vehicles is expected to start up again later this month.
The board of directors for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District recently approved $8.4 million in state funds for the Clean Cars for All program, which provides grants to encourage Bay Area residents to turn in their old vehicles for greener transit options.
The program seeks to reduce pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the Bay Area, while simultaneously working toward the goal of equitable access to electric vehicles and clean transportation, Jack Broadbent, executive director of the air district, wrote in a memo to the board ahead of its Aug. 4 meeting.
The $8.4 million allocation from the California Air Resources Board will allow the district to reopen the program and accept applications.
Since April 2019, it has provided grants up to $9,500 for low-income residents to retire older, high-polluting cars and replace them with a newer, cleaner vehicle or with mobility options like a transit card or e-bike.
The program focuses on disadvantaged communities, which limited program eligibility to 76 ZIP codes in the Bay Area.
Residents who qualify can get grants up to $9,500 to buy or lease a new or used plug-in, electric or fuel cell vehicle or get up to $7,500 to collect a pre-paid card for public transit or e-bikes.
Residents enrolled in low-income programs like CalFresh or CalWORKS could receive an additional $500.
In order to receive any of the grants, residents must first submit an application and get a pre-inspection done on their old car by an authorized dismantler. If approved, the resident then signs the terms and conditions and receives the award letter.
Once they use the money to lease or buy a new car or collect their prepaid card for other mobility options, they then turn in their old vehicle to be dismantled.
As of early August, the air district spent $16.73 million in grants to more than 1,920 applicants in the Bay Area since the program’s inception.
The air district anticipates with this new round of funding it will distribute 800-900 grants.
However, the air district will not use all of the $8.4 million in grants. Broadbent’s memo outlines that up to 15 percent can be used by the air district to administer the program — 10 percent to support air district staff costs to manage applications and cases and the remaining 5 percent can be contracted out for resident outreach.
Residents interested in the Clean Cars for All program can learn more or sign up for the email list on the air district’s website.