Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has signed into law a bill that extends Virginia's $1-per-tire scrap tire fee until June 30, 2008.
The bill, signed March 31, overwhelmingly passed both houses of the Virginia General Assembly with the Virginia Senate approving it 40-0 on Feb. 24 about three weeks after the state House of Representatives voted 84-16 for passage.
Without the extension of the $1 scrap tire fee, the fee would have reverted on June 30 to its original level of 50 cents on each new tire sold within the commonwealth. As the Virginia DEQ explained in its year-end 2005 scrap tire report to the General Assembly, that reduction would have come at a very bad time for the scrap tire abatement effort in Virginia.
According to that report, the agency estimates the state still has 136 scrap tire sites containing 2.5 million to 3 million tires and further estimates a total cost of $6 million to complete their cleanup.
In 2005, the DEQ solicited and awarded regional scrap tire cleanup contracts to five different companies. Work proceeded well on these contracts, the report stated, until in October it became apparent that the state's Waste Tire Trust Fund held insufficient funds to complete the work.
The agency suspended work on those contracts in November and told the contractors to finish cleanup of tire piles on which they had started work, but not to begin work on other piles.
There were two reasons for the shortfall, the DEQ said. First, bid prices escalated because of fuel prices and the long distances contractors had to travel to reach tire piles. Second, many of the piles were in pits or ravines, thus causing a significant underestimation of the tires involved.
Piles averaged 156 percent more tires than originally estimated, the report stated, with one pile having an overage topping 1,200 percent.