Government agencies in the US state of New York are providing more than 24 million dollars from the Diesel-Gate Volkswagen funding pot to help operators to replace diesel-powered vehicles with new battery-electric buses.
The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), a government agency that regulates the expansion and protection of the state’s natural resources, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has just announced the release of the funds. The $24 million comes from Volkswagen’s share of the fines allocated to the state. These amount to a total of 127.7 million dollars.
Local bus companies seeking to switch to electric buses will be able to benefit from the new funding. The focus is mainly on operators of fleets with bus depots or bus lines in so-called Potential Environmental Justice Areas (PEJA), i.e. communities with socially disadvantaged inhabitants and high environmental pollution. Around 18.4 million dollars of the amount made available will be distributed through the existing ‘New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program’. The remaining approximately six million dollars will be granted via the New York Power Authority (NYPA) for the associated charging infrastructure.
Several players in New York State coordinate the use of the Volkswagen budget: On the instructions of the Governor, the DEC has drawn up the ‘Clean Transportation NY’ plan together with NYSERDA, the NYPA, the State Department of Transportation (DOT), the port authorities of New York and New Jersey and other stakeholders. The goal is to strategically invest the money to maximize the benefits and expand New York’s national leadership in clean energy and climate change, it says.
DEC Commissioner Basil Segos further underlines the mission ahead of the initiative as he notes that transit and transportation emissions remain a significant contributor to climate change: “The transportation sector remains the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York, and by taking action to remove the worst polluters from our roads, communities across the state will benefit, especially those overburdened by pollution in our cities.”
With reporting by Cora Werwitzke, France.