Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is proposing to slash funding from a new air quality improvement program that hasn't even started yet.
The Clean Diesel Program, which was passed during the 2016 legislative session, is intended to provide grants to municipalities and companies to replace diesel trucks with more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Raimondo's budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, which starts July 1, would cut the program's funding by two thirds from $1 million to $250,000.
Janet Coit, director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, said the cuts are needed to help close at projected $60 million state deficit.
"Given all the choices that we had to make, not going forward with a new program was a better choice than cutting existing programs," Coit said.
The program’s funding would be eliminated completely for fiscal year 2019 – again, to help close a projected shortfall of $204 million.