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Good afternoon from the hoppin'est club in Downtown Dallas, Room 6ES inside City Hall, where the Transportation and Environment Committee is presently meeting, as Bobsky told you earlier today, about issues related to transportation, the environment and committees. On the agenda: air quality, water conservation and long-range transit planning.
First up is a presentation on air quality monitoring contracts with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from Errick Thompson, Assistant Director of Public Works and Transportation here in Dallas. We get federal and state money to run our clean-air monitoring program, but the program still needs city dollars. Which is fairly important in a city that "has an ozone issue," per Thompson -- which is to say, a city officially in non-compliance with the Clean Air Act.
Despite the fact, as Linda Koop just said, "there's no price on clean air," the city is pretty intent on paying as little as possible for it: "I really think we can get down to zero," said Koop. That means looking into, in Thompson's words, "additional opportunities to generate more revenue," a.k.a. more ways they can jack up prices on permits, fees and whatnots for entities like used car lots that are required to pay the city to operate. This year, the city contributed $102,527 to the air quality monitoring program, versus a projected $71,527 next year with increased fees. Clean air gets cheaper and cheaper every year, it seems. I'll take three.