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Published on Friday, January 13, 2017

Is your city eligible for Volkswagen settlement funds?

In the fall of 2016, Volkswagen agreed to a $14.7 billion deal arising from its diesel emissions cheating scandal that rocked the nation and world in 2015. Volkswagen intentionally developed and incorporated computer programs for their cars to deceive US emissions monitors. Called a “consent decree,” the agreement between Volkswagen and the government represents the largest civil settlement worldwide ever with an automaker.

Of the $14.7 billion, Washington State will initially receive $103 million to reduce and eliminate diesel emissions and promote electric vehicle usage. Another $2 billion will be made available to states on a competitive basis to promote electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the development of zero-emissions ride-sharing fleets and other efforts to boost sales of cars that do not burn petroleum.

According to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the list of eligible actions contained in the final consent decree includes projects that reduce emissions from:

  • Local freight trucks and port drayage trucks
  • School buses, shuttle buses, transit buses
  • Freight switcher locomotives
  • Ferries and tugs
  • Ocean-going vessels (by providing shore power at the dock)
  • Airport ground support equipment
  • Forklifts and port cargo-handling equipment
  • Light-duty vehicles (by providing electric vehicle charging equipment)

In his 2017-19 capital budget proposal, Governor Inslee appropriates $20 million to the Department of Ecology to begin this process. Of the $20 million, 15% is to be “spent upon projects for the acquisition, installation, operation, and maintenance of new light duty zero emission vehicle supply equipment and infrastructure.” He directs Ecology to work with DOT to select projects and distribute funding. However, this funding must still go through the 2017 legislative process.

AWC will continue to monitor this issue and report on its progress.

Categories: Transportation
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