WASHINGTON -- The Transportation Department has paid or approved 97 percent of dealers’ cash-for-clunkers claims, the agency said.
The department has reimbursed 642,254 submissions for $2.7 billion as of this morning, it said on its cars.gov Web site.
That leaves as many as 39,172 claims for $163 million to be paid by the Sept. 30 deadline set by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
LaHood has said all properly filed deals would be reimbursed by then.
Transportation also has approved 16,874 vouchers for $70.3 million, today’s statement said.
Approval is the next-to-last stage in the process before payment is wired to a dealer’s bank by the Treasury Department.
A total of 659,128 claims for $2.8 billion were paid or approved, the posting said.
Between July 27 and Aug. 25, dealers filed 681,426 claims for $2.9 billion.
The Transportation Department adopted a rule today that will let dealers reapply if they were blocked from entering a claim by the government’s computer problems.
Department spokeswomen didn’t respond to a query asking if it is possible that new claims filed will vault submissions over the $3 billion cash-for-clunkers budget.
LaHood has declined to answer questions about how large the agency’s administrative costs will be after it upgraded its computers and hired new staff to process dealer applications.