The so-called “budget crisis” in Austin this last legislative session gave industry and their favorite presidential candidate the opportunity to slash the budget of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. One thing they cut were the programs that offer incentives to get your older, dirtier car fixed or buy a new cleaner one. You may recall that the idea of “fleet turnover” among DFW residents was the one and only way TCEQ was suggesting North Texas could escape its chronic smog problem. That’s worked so well this summer that we’re seeing the worst ozone levels since 2006. But the point is that it’s the very strategy the TCEQ is promoting in DFW as a clean air solution has gotten gutted in Austin. So even if you were a true believer in TCEQ’s fleet turnover shell game, you’d be hard-pressed to defend the efficacy of that approach now that it’s been mortally wounded in the budget process. All they have now is a big box of nothing.