The Knesset Finance Committee approved on Thursday the continuation of a project to provide monetary compensation to vehicle owners who turn in their clunkers for metal scrapping.

“This important project contributes to the protection of human life and the environment,” committee chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said.

The committee approved a NIS 10 million budget for the scrapping process, an effort that will be led by the Environmental Protection Ministry in collaboration with the Transportation Ministry. Owners of vehicles over 20 years old that have a valid license will be eligible to receive NIS 3,000 for their cars – which are polluting the environment and causing safety hazards on the roads, a committee spokesman said.

The renewed budget will allow the program to continue for the time being, after it had been forced to stop many times due to financial constraints, with the last installment occurring in April, the spokesman explained.

“This issue is very important,” Gafni said. “Encouraging people to bring old vehicles for scrapping also contributes to the environment and safety, and protects human life. Overall, it also brings huge savings to the state.”

Such savings to the state occur because vehicle scrapping leads to the purchase of new cars, which provides considerable tax revenues to the government, according to Gafni.

“Unfortunately, the budget for this project was exhausted because it is a very attractive program, and I requested from the Treasury to renew the budget for a new implementation,” Gafni said, crediting Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan and members of the Transportation Ministry for their joint pursuit of the funds.

Amir Zalzberg, of the Environmental Protection Ministry’s Air Quality Division, promised that funds provided for the project go predominantly to the public with very little bureaucracy involved. It is imperative that the government create a sequence of one year for the program in the future, rather than having to stop in the middle due to fund exhaustion, as occurred this year, according to Zalzberg.

“We cannot release publicity about the scrapping project and after a month suddenly stop it,” said Katy Moraly, vehicle licensing manager at the Transportation Ministry’s Licensing Division. “This creates confusion among the citizens and we even received complaints from citizens who wanted to benefit from the process.”

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