AUSTIN - Legislation crafted by state Sen. Kip Averitt, R-McGregor, to bring the state’s non-attainment areas back into attainment with federal environmental guidelines successfully passed Monday.
Averitt’s Senate Bill 12, which was passed during the final hours of the 80th Legislative Session, addresses the state’s NOx problem - mobile emissions from on and off-road sources such as cars and heavy commercial equipment.
Under SB12, the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan and the Low-Income Vehicle Repair Assistance Program will be significantly augmented, allowing the programs to help the state meet the rapidly approaching air quality deadlines set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Mobile emissions are arguably the most important piece of the state's air quality puzzle,” said Averitt, chairman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources.
“I’ve been looking at this issue for a long time from a lot of different angles, and SB12 will maximize programs that taxpayers have already invested in to produce meaningful, expeditious air quality improvements for Texas,” he said.
Averitt’s 80th Session efforts to address mobile emissions by beefing up the TERP and LIRAP programs were not limited to SB12.
As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Averitt successfully worked with his legislative colleagues to appropriate fund balances in the TERP and LIRAP accounts. The TERP and LIRAP accounts maintain substantial fund balances totaling nearly a quarter of a billion dollars - money that has been collected from Texans and cannot be spent elsewhere in the state budget.
Under the budget Averitt helped develop, LIRAP funding will increase from $11 million to $100 million, and TERP also received a substantial increase.