Governor Includes $100 Million For Air Quality In 2020 Budget
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As winter gets closer in Utah, inversion season is also arriving. Air quality sensors across the Wasatch Front showed readings of “moderate” and “unhealthy” Thursday. As Governor Gary Herbert unveiled his budget recommendations for fiscal year 2020, air quality was a focus.
“As we see the inversion starting to set in and air quality becomes more and more on our mind, we’re going to put in an unprecedented 100 million dollars,” Herbert said.
Last year, the governor and the Division of Air Quality set a goal to reduce statewide per capita emissions by 25% by 2026. As they work toward that goal, the governor says that $100 million investment would help fund projects that have the highest impact on air quality. That includes keeping the state’s wood stove replacement program going. The state is also retrofitting older government buildings with technology to reduce emissions and increase efficiency. Older cars are being replaced by cleaner cars. The budget also proposes increasing telework programs and creating an infrastructure to allow more state employees to work from home on bad air days. The state is also using money from a settlement from the Volkswagen case to replace diesel school buses and improve statewide electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
“The environmental issues are real and so we’ve done some good things, but we’re not where we need to be. If we’re going to have thriving communities and a successful quality of life, then we’ve got to address in a more direct fashion, our air quality and we’re going to spend 100 million dollars in this budget to do that very thing,” Herbert said.