DEQ launches Clean Air Communities Program: Aimed at driving investment in electric vehicles
This follows a July announcement from Gov. Ralph Northam that Virginia is investing $14 million from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust to replace all-diesel cargo handling equipment at the Port of Virginia with zero-emission all-electric equipment, and $20 million to fund the Clean Air Communities Program to electrify government fleets across the Commonwealth.
The Clean Air Communities Program is open to state, local and tribal government entities to support public projects that replace medium and heavy-duty diesel vehicles with all-electric vehicles.
Funds may also be used to repower marine and locomotive engines, and to replace fossil-fuel burning equipment at airports.
Applications for CACP funding are due by Jan. 11, 2021.
Two webinars for prospective applicants will be held on Oct. 21 and Nov. 12.
The request for applications, webinar registration and additional information about CACP is available on the DEQ website.
“We are in the process of developing a comprehensive strategy for addressing transportation’s climate impacts in Virginia,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “And Virginia continues to make progress in deploying funds from the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal settlement to advance clean transportation. DEQ and our Administration are committed to working strategically and creatively across the public and private sectors to develop projects and partnerships that protect our health and the environment. This is an example of such a partnership and I encourage all partners across the Commonwealth to join to utilize these funds.”
CACP is the latest investment from Virginia’s share of the VW Trust, established in 2016 following allegations that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by selling nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles designed to cheat on emissions tests. More than 16,000 such vehicles were sold in Virginia and produced over 2,000 tons of excess nitrogen oxides in violation of federal pollution standards.
“The Clean Air Communities Program will reduce pollution in communities that are underserved and most impacted by air pollution,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “This program and other initiatives funded by the VW Trust will not only offset more pollution than was emitted from diesel vehicles, but will continue to benefit Virginians for decades to come.”
The competitive CACP application process will prioritize emission reductions, cost-effectiveness and location. High-priority areas include low-income communities, communities of color and communities with high air-pollution levels as listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2020 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act Priority List.
Gov. Northam previously announced $20 million from the VW Trust for an electric school bus initiative, $14 million to fund the deployment of electric transit buses, and the governor allocated $14 million to develop the Commonwealth’s electric vehicle charging network.