Volkswagen (VW) violated the Clean Air Act by selling ~590,000 diesel cars model year 2009-2016 equipped with “defeat devices” designed to cheat on federal emissions tests. This resulted in over 40,400 tons of excess NOx emissions.
EPA and others sued Volkswagen for violating the Clean Air Act. The state-administered Environmental Mitigation Trust settlement provides $2.7 billion for air pollution mitigation projects.
Under the Environmental Mitigation Trust, Midwest states stand to receive more than $438 million for local air quality efforts, including electric vehicle infrastructure and air quality mitigation efforts (targeting vehicle and equipment upgrades). The Mitigation Trust creates a unique opportunity and obligation for Midwest states to modernize public vehicle fleets and infrastructure, reduce harmful air pollution, and stimulate economic development across the region.
ELPC is advocating for high-impact opportunities to use the Mitigation Trust money to drive the electric vehicle market forward in the Midwest. These include:
- Maximizing the allowable 15% of funds for light-duty electric vehicle infrastructure and prioritizing investment in electric vehicle fast-chargers along the Midwest’s National Charging Corridor highways.
- Investing the remaining 85% of funds in electric vehicle upgrades for large, public fleets that operate in densely-populated areas, such as school and transit buses
- Investing in Electric School Buses
VW Mitigation Fund Allocations for the Midwest States
States with Dedicated Electric School Bus Carve-Outs in VW Settlement Plans
Illinois: $11 million
Ohio: $3 million
Indiana: $2.75 million
What ELPC Is Doing
- The Illinois EPA allocated $19 million for the Chicagoland area to update its public transportation with cleaner-burning and electric vehicles in its first round of funding. ELPC helped schools in Cook County, IL apply for funding from this first round of allocations. Metra was awarded $14 million, the suburban bus service Pace was awarded $2.3 million, Chicago Transit Authority received $1.9 million and the rest will go toward electric school buses in the Chicago Public Schools and school districts in Richton Park and Chicago Heights. Read IL EPA’s full statement.
- ELPC hosted an Electric School Bus Webinar detailing the opportunity for school districts to modernize their fleets while protecting children from the harmful effects of diesel pollution. School buses transport more people nationwide than transit and rail combined. See a map of how school bus ridership compares to funding allocated from the VW settlement.
ELPC led a 4-state, 6-city electric school bus road tour to raise awareness about the VW settlement opportunity to get electric school buses on the road that don’t expose children to harmful diesel pollution. The tour was strategically timed as state lead agencies across the Midwest are crafting proposals to allocate their portion of $2.7 billion in Volkswagen settlement funds. Each stop on the tour included a press conference with environmental, public health, education and utility leaders. The goal of the events was to educate the public on electric school buses and demonstrate the broad support for this technology to state lead agencies
ELPC has created state-specific model school board resolutions in support of establishing Electric School Bus Programs: