The House passed SB275 by a vote of 58-14 Wednesday night to promote conversion to alternative fuel vehicles, mainly compressed natural gas.
"This bill gives us the opportunity to make a quantum leap to help our air quality," said Rep. Jack Draxler, R-North Logan.
SB275, which already has passed the Senate, returns there for a vote on a House amendment.
The bill, which provides a way through the ratepaying structure for Questar to recover the costs of building natural-gas fueling stations and facilities, drew opposition based on the possibility it would mean an increase for utility ratepayers. When pressed, Draxler said that "cleaner air is not free." He went on to say that if there is a rate increase it would amount to 12 cents a month.
Majority Whip Rep. Gregory Hughes, R-Draper, spoke in favor of the bill and tried to remove the $5 million annual spending limit included in the bill.
Hughes, chairman of the Utah Transit Authority, said, that "60 percent of our pollution comes from tailpipes. Thousands of government vehicles could be run on compressed natural gas to reduce this."
His proposal to lift the cap failed.