New York to invest $127.7 million Volkswagen settlement in clean vehicles
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York will utilize the $127.7 million received from the 2016 Volkswagen settlement to significantly increase the number of electric vehicles and other clean vehicles in the state.
Covered vehicles include new buses, trucks, locomotives, ferries, tug boats, and cargo handling equipment, as well as the availability of electric vehicle charging equipment statewide.
At the Governor’s direction, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in concert with the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, New York Power Authority, state Department of Transportation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and others, developed Clean Transportation NY—New York’s plan to strategically invest settlement resources for maximum benefit.
The funds were secured through the Attorney General’s settlement with Volkswagen in close collaboration with DEC. The state’s strategically leveraged investment of settlement funds is anticipated to result in at least $300 million of clean vehicles and infrastructure on New York’s roadways.
In October 2016, a federal judge approved a national settlement plan to address Volkswagen’s installation and use of devices in approximately 580,000 Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche vehicles that circumvented federal emissions standards for NOx.
With the support of the Attorney General's Office, New York received $127.7 million as part of this legal settlement. The state plans to use more than 60% of the funding to accelerate the adoption of electrified transportation by reducing the cost of electric buses and trucks, particularly transit buses, and providing funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
In addition, New York will replace or re-power older, high-polluting diesel-powered trucks, school buses, and equipment with cleaner vehicles and equipment. The state will prioritize replacement of older, dirty vehicles and equipment with emission-free electric versions and will fund replacement with other new, much lower-emitting technologies that would provide substantially greater emission reductions for the funding available.
Additional Clean Transportation NY investments will fund electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support and encourage the growth of all-electric ground support equipment at airports and light-duty, on-road all-electric vehicles throughout the state.
The mitigation plan will also bolster the state’s Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) program, which requires vehicle manufacturers to research, develop, and market electric vehicles that will have zero tailpipe emissions.
After finalizing the plan, DEC will work with state authorities and others to implement it. That implementation process will prioritize electrification in most investment categories. For example, DEC will work with a New York authority with a decided emphasis on replacing old diesel-powered school buses with new, all-electric school buses. This solicitation will recognize the promise of cooperative and community ownership models, without excluding other public and private proposals. Implementation processes will also prioritize investments in EJ areas and other areas disproportionately burdened by diesel emissions.
During the process of developing the plan to utilize VW settlement funds, DEC solicited comments and suggestions from both private and public partners. In addition to working with state agencies and authorities, these outreach efforts included six public events throughout the state to seek comments. More than 150 people attended the public events. DEC also held more than 60 meetings, presentations, or conference calls with stakeholder groups. These stakeholders included environmental groups, transportation groups, medium- and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers, energy suppliers, and EJ (environmental justice) organizations.