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Proposals Sought for VW Settlement Funds

RALEIGH – The state released Monday two requests for proposals for emission-reduction projects to be paid for with proceeds from the settlement of Volkswagen’s violations of federal air pollution laws.

In 2015, Volkswagen admitted that it violated the Clean Air Act by installing illegal software on some of its diesel vehicles. The vehicles with the illegal software emit up to 40 times the allowable levels of nitrogen oxides. Settlement agreements of $14.7 billion nationally were agreed upon to resolve matters related to the violations.

North Carolina has been allocated $92 million in Volkswagen settlement money and is seeking public input on how to use the funds. The Department of Environmental Quality is charged with managing the state’s share of the national settlement. More than $27 million in potential funding is available in the first round of funding, according to DEQ.

Applications are to be available July 1 for the requests for proposals that fall under the Diesel and Bus program and DC Fast Charge program, which was created to expand the state’s zero-emission vehicle-charging infrastructure. The two projects must achieve significant reductions in emissions.

The projects may submitted by local, state and tribal governments, public or nonprofit organizations or eligible public-private partnerships through Sept. 30.

The Division of Air Quality plans to host workshops for organizations that intend to apply for funding under the Volkswagen mitigation plan and associated programs July 15 in Asheville, July 16 in Charlotte, July 18 in Wilmington, July 19 in Raleigh, July 22 in Winterville, July 24 in Fayetteville and July 25 in Winston-Salem.

For the diesel and bus program, $24.5 million is available, with 40% allocated for school bus replacement. About $6 million is marked for transit bus replacements and 10% each for heavy-duty on-road and off-road equipment replacement projects.

There is $3.4 million available for the the installation of zero-emission vehicle charging infrastructure under the DC Fast Charge program. Projects in designated corridors are to receive priority in expanding the state’s charging infrastructure network.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.