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Cleaning Up Junk Cars On Wyoming's Roadways

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You’ve seen them on the side of the road… junker cars with orange tags warning they’ll be towed. But who pays for that towing? Or is it just stored until the owner can pick it up? And what if it never gets picked up?

As many as 2,300 vehicles are abandoned around the state every year. And it’s the towing companies and wrecking yards that often end up paying. A bill proposed by a transportation subcommittee would change the rule to allow vehicles valued under $1500 to get crushed, up from $600 now.

Representative Bunky Louks from Casper chairs the subcommittee. He says they met this week to propose changes to loosen the definition of an abandoned car so it can get crushed and disposed of faster.

“You can’t have a junk car crushed in Wyoming,” he says. “A title has to follow a vehicle all the way through. They won’t accept a vehicle or even part of a vehicle without a title attached to it.”

He says the subcommittee also wants to eliminate some of the red tape.

“They spend literally months and months trying to get possession of it. It’s expensive and you have to be published in the paper twice. And so trying to find a mechanism for a car that isn’t worth much to be deemed junk, as we call it.”

Louks says the full committee will meet at the end of August to discuss the proposed changes.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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