BALTIMORE (AP) — A program aimed at cleaning up the air in the mid-Atlantic region is encouraging short-haul truck operators serving ports in the region to trade in clunkers for newer vehicles.

With more than $3 million in federal funds, the University of Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association, a group of state air pollution regulators, are offering subsidies and financial incentives to replace older trucks serving ports in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Wilmington and Hampton Roads. Organizers hope to nearly double that amount with other public and private funding to replace hundreds of trucks over the next two years.

Owners of short-haul trucks built before 2003 are eligible for grants of up to $15,000 towards a newer vehicle. For now,
preference is being given to vehicles with engines made before 1998.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)