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Texas Offers up to $2,500 Incentive for Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Texans who purchase alternative fuel vehicles are now eligible for up to $2,500 in state incentives, according to Fuel Fix, a project of the Houston Chronicle and other Hearst newspapers.
The incentives, made possible by Senate Bill 2717 approved last year, are the first offered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for light-duty vehicles.
The agency will provide up to $7.7 million to defray the cost of leasing or buying light-duty vehicles powered by electricity, compressed natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas. The agency previously offered incentives only for heavy- and medium- duty vehicles that were part of fleets. The new incentives cover consumer vehicles, such as the electric Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt, or compressed natural gas versions of the Honda Civic or Ford F-150. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has been working to determine which vehicles would be eligible for the incentives since last year.
These changes are part of the state’s efforts to improve air quality. The Texas Emissions Reduction Plan offers financial incentives for lower-emissions vehicles.
The program runs through June 2015 or until the money runs out, whichever comes first. Texas officials say the incentives can be combined with other grant programs offered by the state or federal government to help cover the cost of the alternative fuel vehicles, which typically cost significantly more than gasoline-fueled vehicles.
 
LETHAL INJECTION DRUGS
The Georgia Supreme Court in a 5-2 ruling upheld the state’s lethal-injection secrecy law, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in May. Justices said the reasons to keep the identities of suppliers of the lethal-injection drugs secret are obvious. The ruling comes on the heels of a controversial execution in Oklahoma, during which Clayton Derrell Lockett writhed and grimaced after he had been declared unconscious.
 
TORNADO RECOVERY EFFORTS
More than $2 million has been approved to help Arkansans recover from severe storms that swept the state in April. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved nearly $1.7 million in housing assistance to individuals and families whose property was damaged or destroyed, The Associated Press reported in May. The agency also approved more than $355,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.
 
TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS
As the federal Highway Trust Fund runs out of money, more than 70 transportation projects in Georgia could be delayed indefinitely, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in May. Federal dollars account for more than half the money in the Georgia Department of Transportation’s budget. The current U.S. surface transportation law expires Sept. 30. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx warned states the trust fund could be depleted as early as August .
 
PORTMIAMI OPENS
Florida Gov. Rick Scott officially dedicated the new PortMiami Tunnel in May, the Miami Herald reported. The $1 billion project provides the first direct link for cargo trucks from area expressways to the port. The upgrade of PortMiami also includes dredging of the harbor in advance of the Panama Canal expansion to allow giant containerships to reach the port. Those ships are expected to carry more cargo than the ships that can now reach the port .
 
HIGH SCHOOL LAWMAKER
A 17-year-old high school student defeated a two-term state representative in West Virginia’s primary election May 13. Saira Blair defeated incumbent Larry Kump and is expected to win in November in the heavily Republican district, NPR reported. The election drew only about 1,600 voters to the polls, and Blair encouraged her friends to vote, as long as they turn 18 before the general election. Blair is one of only about a half-dozen teenagers elected as state legislators since 1998, according to NPR.
 
 
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