Paterson looks to crack down on truck pollution

Gov. David Paterson announced Tuesday plans to stem pollution from trucks that triggers asthma, a step many Bronx residents say is badly needed.

Paterson says the state would crack down on trucks whose emissions violate state air regulations. The Bronx, which has the state's highest asthma rate, has been particularly hurt by the idling trucks.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is floating proposed regulations requiring trucks made before 2007 to be fitted with emissions-reducing equipment and to use ultra-low-sulfur fuel by 2011.

The new regulations would apply only to state-owned trucks or trucks used for state contract work. The DEC estimates it will cost $195 million to retrofit about 30,000 state trucks.

Paterson also says that Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income people, would receive $1.9 million to help educate asthma patients at the beginning of 2009, with $177,500 going directly to the South Bronx.

AP wire services were used in this report.

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