The owner of Lodi Backhoe, a small business in Lodi, Calif., purchased the first truck through the California Air Resources Board's Voucher Incentive Program last week, a statewide effort to cut diesel pollution.

The new 2009 dump truck was financed through funding assistance to replace an older, dirtier model. The San Joaquin Valley air district was the first in the state to issue a voucher.

The Voucher Incentive Program, or VIP, is geared to small California-based fleets to help replace their older, polluting trucks with newer, cleaner models. More than $15 million is available through the program, open to any owner to fund heavy-duty truck replacements statewide. Between $30,000 and $35,000 is available per grant, depending on the age of the truck. Eligible trucks must operate 75 percent of the time in California with engines 1993 model year or older.

"We are happy to see the program help small business owners purchase new, cleaner-running trucks that comply with our air quality regulations," said Mary Nichols, chairman of CARB.

Participating truck dealerships can help business owners check eligibility and apply for a voucher. Grants are made on a first-come, first-served basis and qualifying applications are reviewed and approved within five business days.

For a list of participating dealership, click here.