Texas House approves diesel tax

| Thursday, April 17, 2003

The Texas House of Representatives approved legislation April 8 that would tack 3 cents a gallon onto the state's diesel fuel tax and could help bring the state into federal clean air compliance.

HB1365, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, also would increase the tax on the sale, rental or lease of diesel equipment by 2 percent, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Lawmakers say the proposal awards grants to speed up business' voluntary retirement of older, higher-polluting diesel equipment, and it also pays for research into clean-air technologies.

Environmentalists, however, criticized the move. They say part of the plan weakens low emission standards, which would jeopardize federal highway funds.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has required the Lone Star State to reduce its emissions by 16.3 tons a day in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and 18.9 tons a day in the Houston area by 2007, the newspaper reported.

The bill, which has been forwarded to the Senate for consideration, also would bar the state from future actions on lower speed limits for clean air.

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