Glitch Delayed 'Cash for Clunkers'
Participation in Alaska
August 03, 2009
(SitNews) - Alaskans can participate in the Cash for Clunkers
program, despite a glitch on a U.S. Department of Transportation
(DOT) website that generated confusion over whether Alaska was
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska received numerous phone calls
last week from Alaska auto dealers concerned that Alaska was
being left out of the program. In order to participate, dealers
have to ensure that a trade-in car is transferred to a disposal
facility on a DOT list. But when dealers tried to access the
information, no Alaska facilities appeared on the list.
In a letter to Treasury Secretary
Timothy Geithner and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Murkowski
noted that the recent rollout of the program was delayed in Alaska,
thanks to a computer glitch on a federal website that temporarily
prohibited the ability of auto dealers - and therefore consumers
DOT officials assured Murkowski that there are a number of disposal
facilities in the state, and that Alaska will be able to participate.
DOT officials told Murkowski's office that they were trying to
update their website (www.cars.gov)
with a list of approved Alaska disposal facilities. They said
there were at least five such facilities located in Anchorage,
Juneau and Kodiak. However on the DOT website the only disposal
facilities listed as of August 3rd are located in Anchorage.
The program runs through Nov
1, 2009 or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
However, the Obama administration said Thursday that the $1 billion
Cash for Clunkers program ran out of money Thursday, July 30th,
after only one week following an unexpected flood of business
exhausted the funds.
Under the Cash for Clunkers program, eligible owners of gas guzzling
automobiles will receive a credit, up to $4,500, if they turn
them in and buy or lease a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle.
Congress created the program in an effort to spur new car sales
in the battered auto industry.
Murkowski said a recent federal report showed that of the $502
billion appropriated through the economic stimulus bill, substantial
sums remain unspent.
"Clearly there are a multitude of programs and funding available
through the stimulus act that could potentially be used to continue
the CARS program, and the CARS program seems like a very legitimate
candidate to access this funding," Murkowski wrote.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a $2 billion
extension of the Cash for Clunkers program. The House legislation
would authorize the program through September 30, 2010, and the
money would come from an Energy Department loan guarantee program
that is part of the economic stimulus package enacted in February.
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