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AirCheck to begin May 1

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The Ellis County Press

ELLIS COUNTY - The state's AirCheck auto emissions program goes into effect today.

The cost of a vehicle inspection will increase from $12.50 to $39.50, because of the new program. If a vehicle fails the emissions test, it must be repaired before an inspection sticker is issued.

'We're working around the clock, bringing more inspection lanes online every day, sometimes every hour,' said Robert Burroughs, head of the Texas Department of Public Safety's Vehicle Inspection and Emissions program. 'We're optimistic motorists won't have to worry about long waits to get tested in May.'

'In the first nine months, we tested 2.1 million vehicles registered in [Dallas, Denton, Tarrant, Collin] counties and

identified 215,000 of the worst pulluting cars,' said Hazel Barbour, mobile manager for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. 'We expect about 10 percent of the vehicles in Ellis County will fail the test. Getting those vehicles repaired will have a positive effect on air quality.'

Gas-powered vehicles are the source of 40 percent of the nitrogen oxide emissions in the region, according to Burroughs.

This conflicts with local environmental groups who say Midlothian cement plants produce most of the area's pollution.

And recently, the Environmental Protection Agency rolled out new regulations on farm equipment, such as tractors and other diesel-powered engines; those mandates, according to the EPA, should reduce emissions by as much as 90 percent.

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