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The Center for Sustainable Infrastructure Blog

VW Settlement to Charge Up State’s EV Infrastructure

November 27th, 2016 · No Comments · Transportation

Anthony_BBy Anthony Buckley  – Innovative Partnerships Program
Washington State Department of Transportation

Washington State is in line to receive at least $104 million from a $14.7 billion settlement of lawsuits filed against Volkswagen companies (VW) for violations of the Clean Air Act for selling approximately 500,000 vehicles with 2.0-liter diesel engines equipped with computer software designed to cheat on federal emissions tests (i.e., “defeat devices”). These funds will go a long way in supporting the State’s efforts to strengthen the charging infrastructure needed to increase the number of electric vehicles on the state’s highways.

volkswagen-settlement-agreement

Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund
Governor Inslee’s office has designated the State’s Department of Ecology as the recipient of the $104 million environmental mitigation settlement monies. A portion of the funds may be used for the acquisition, installation, operation and maintenance of new light duty zero emission vehicle supply equipment. As the lead agency Ecology will work with stakeholders to develop a process for deploying the funds in a manner that results in investing the funds to produce the greatest benefit to the State and its citizens.

In accord with the terms of the settlement agreement, Washington State may use its share of the proceeds for a variety of activities. Ecology plans to take recommendations through a public process after the settlement is finalized.

Types of projects eligible include:
• Class 8 Local Freight Trucks and Port Drayage Trucks (Eligible Large Trucks)
• Class 4-8 School Bus, Shuttle Bus, or Transit Bus (Eligible Buses)
• Freight Switchers
• Ferries/Tugs
• Ocean Going Vessels Shorepower
• Class 4-7 Local Freight Trucks (Medium Trucks)
• Airport Ground Support Equipment
• Forklifts
• Diesel Emission Reduction Act Option
• Zero Emission Vehicle Supply Equipment

Aside from the $104 million other aspects of the VW settlement that will benefit citizens consist of:

Citizen Restitution
Citizens of the state will benefit directly from a $10 billion settlement to compensate those who purchased or leased impacted vehicles from Volkswagen. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be returned to Washington consumers as restitution, and Volkswagen will either buy back or repair affected vehicles.

VW Investment Funds
VW will establish a non-profit entity to manage and invest $2 billion funds throughout the United States to promote and advance the use and availability of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs). Washington and Oregon leaders are coordinating on a proposal for regional investment in electric vehicle charging equipment for public and workplace charging and for public education.

Legal Fees
The Washington State Attorney General’s office was also awarded $26 million for costs incurred in investigating Volkswagen. Further, there still remains to be resolved a $176 million fine imposed by Washington Department of Ecology.
A copy of the settlement agreement can be found here (pdf).

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