Volkswagen Settlement will Help Replace Aging School Buses

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has a plan to spend an additional $76 million on specific projects to reduce diesel emissions from the transportation sector – and it plans to make $12 million available for transit bus and school bus replacements.

According to MDE, $4 million dollars will be set aside to replace aging school buses, with another $8 million to replace aging transit buses.

In 2015, the federal government found Volkswagen AG liable for violations of the Clean Air Act, because from 2009 to 2016, the company sold diesel vehicles with devices installed that allowed for illegal amounts of nitrogen oxide emissions. The resulting settlement agreement with the automobile manufacturer created the Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund, which includes $2.7 billion earmarked for projects that remediate excess nitrogen oxide emissions from the air.

Maryland is eligible to receive about $75.7 million of that money – but first, it must complete and have approved a plan for how it will allocate the funds. After consulting with the Maryland Departments of Energy and Transportation, MDE released its draft plan this week outlining how it plans to spend the money.

According to MDE:

Local Governments and Communities and Environmental Justice (15.8%): Local governments and communities will be given a chance to submit project ideas for funding. Funding will be awarded on a competitive basis based on the primary goals of this spending plan. Proposals from highly affected communities (communities with heightened levels of ground-level ozone) will be weighted. A portion of the funds will be set aside specifically for transit bus and school bus replacements.

MDE will be accepting comments on the proposed Mitigation Plan until close of business on August 31, 2018. Comments can be emailed to mde.vw@maryland.gov.

MDE is also already accepting proposals from counties and others for eligible mitigation projects that can potentially be incorporated into future versions of Maryland’s Mitigation Plan. Those wishing to propose a project for inclusion in the plan may complete and submit this form by close of business on December 31, 2018.

Those sending comments or proposals by mail may use this address:

Mobile Sources Control Program
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Blvd. Ste. 705
Baltimore, MD 21230

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