The First VW Settlement Projects Have Been Funded

October 11, 2018

With more VW funds coming online daily, now is the time to apply.

Stemming back to the early 2000’s, the foundations of the Volkswagen emissions scandal lay in the company’s efforts to create a viable “clean” diesel option for the light-duty market. Unfortunately, the path to mitigate the negative air quality impacts of the offending Volkswagen vehicles has been long and fraught with time-intensive legal wrangling. When the EPA published a series of partial settlements in 2016, the horizon looked bright for a motherlode of clean transportation grant funding opportunities. However, a series of legal maneuvers, buttressed by long periods of internal reviews and plan development by each state, kept pushing that windfall of funds for a clean transportation future further and further away.

The VW funds are not a state-specific flash-in-the-pan. These funds are available in every state and will fund projects for at least the next few years.

There is no wonder then that many in the industry are left asking: “When will the funds start to flow into actual projects?” Fortunately, recent announcements by Louisiana and Pennsylvania have declared: the time is now!

First Projects Announced for VW Funds

Though the state has not yet issued any formal notice of awards, Louisiana is the first state to announce VW settlement awards, done in accordance with its plan to dedicate $18 million in VW settlement funds towards the replacement of older diesel school buses. The first recipient of these funds is the Lafayette Parish School System, which will use the funds to replace 10 of its older diesel models with new Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses. The Blue Bird Vision is equipped with ROUSH CleanTech’s ultra-low emissions engine, recently certified to be 90% cleaner than the current strictest NOx emissions standard. As evidenced in Louisiana, propane autogas vehicles are an ultra-clean alternative fuel technology that is ideal for applicants pursuing VW funds.

Pennsylvania also recently announced the winners of its first round of VW funding, which was conducted under Governor Tom Wolf’s Driving PA Forward initiative. This effort, launched in May 2018, aims to reduce 27,700 tons of NOx emissions through the use of the state’s $118 million settlement with Volkswagen. To achieve that goal, the first round of winners included CNG refuse trucks, a new piece of diesel construction equipment, and a new diesel school bus in Allegheny County; new diesel street sweepers in Scranton; new diesel school buses in Lancaster County; and the installation of idle reduction equipment on six locomotives in Bethlehem.

So…Who’s Next?

Many more states will soon release their first rounds of winners. We expect announcements in the coming months from Ohio, Utah, Michigan, Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon, to name just a few. What’s more, there are only a few states left without a plan, meaning that nearly every state now has a concrete plan to make these funds available in the immediate future.

Many states will soon release their first rounds of winners, making the near-term funding horizon as bright as it ever has been.

The near-term funding horizon is as bright as it ever has been. The problem faced by fleets and other stakeholders will no longer be where can they find the funds, but how they can secure the right funding opportunity. In other words, fleets no longer have to wonder if there are funds, but how much they can win.

To navigate these opportunity-rich waters, GNA’s Funding 360 Team has its fingers on the pulse – our relationships with leading agencies in each and every state provides us with the intelligence needed to help fleet managers, technology providers, and fuel suppliers identify and secure the best incentives for their projects. We have made some of these funding resources available on ACT News, including the new VW Funding Project Competitiveness Calculator, which evaluates a project’s eligibility for VW funding.

The time has come to find the funding needed to achieve your company’s environmental and economic goals.