An auto emitting a cloud of exhaust travels on Washington Boulevard in Ogden on July 26, 2019.

OGDEN — A little help is on the way to help Weber County motorists comply with state emissions regulations, part of an initiative to help clean Utah’s air.

The Weber-Morgan Health Department has received $1.22 million from the state to help eligible auto owners cover the costs of repairs needed to comply with state emissions requirements. Funds can also be used to buy new cars to replace noncompliant cars.

Michela Harris, environmental health director for the health department, said officials hope to implement the new program, the Vehicle Repair/Replacement Assistance Program, or VRRAP, next January. “We know we have the need. (We) think we can help a lot of people,” Harris said Monday when informing the Weber-Morgan Health Board of the funding.

Granting of funds will be based on the financial need of those seeking it. Eligible owners of cars dating to 2004 that have failed an emissions test will be able to get up to $1,000 to help pay for repairs to make the autos compliant or for up to $5,500 to get replacement vehicles. Eligible owners of noncompliant cars dating to 2003 or before may only use funds to get replacement autos.

The health department will team with local repair shops that do emissions inspections and car dealers to get the word out about the program. The aim is to get the vehicles causing the most pollution off the roads to clean the air along the Wasatch Front. As is, car owners in Weber County failing emissions tests can get a one-year waiver under certain circumstances to meet the guidelines, keeping their pollution-producing cars on the road.

Davis County has had a program that provides eligible motorists with funds to help repair cars not meeting emissions rules. The county recently received funds for an auto replacement program, according to Harris.

The state requires emissions inspections of most autos in Cache, Weber, Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties as a prerequisite to registration.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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