Student transporters interested in applying for their share of a $2.7-billion national trust fund for replacing or retrofitting diesel school buses should use their local state director of transportation as their first point of contact.
The National Association for State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services made this recommendation Wednesday in a brief on the Volkswagen Settlement and resulting Mitigation Trust Fund. Both were the result of the German auto maker being caught implementing software cheats in certain 2.0L vehicles manufactured between 2009 and 2015 so they would pass emissions tests, erroneously.
Individual states will administer the trust fund after a federal court appoints a trustee in the coming weeks to oversee and approve the program. Public school districts, private school bus contractors, state agencies, tribal governments and U.S. Territories are eligible to apply for 100 percent of the cost of replacing or repowering school buses.
Funding amounts will range from $7.5 million each for Alaska, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, South Dakota and Wyoming to more than $381 million for California.
NASDPTS said states can also use the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) option, a long-standing EPA program that funds similar vehicle replacement and repower projects, as well as the implementation of alternative fuels, idle-reduction equipment and other “eligible mitigation actions.”
The VW Settlement sets aside an additional $2 billion for a Zero Emissions Vehicle Investments: $1.2 billion available nationally and $800 million just for California.
A lobbyist for the National School Transportation Association, which represents private school bus contractors, reported thatat a meeting in Palm Springs, California, last week, VW is paying roughly $20 billion in criminal and civil penalties, as well as another $10 billion that VW will spend on a vehicle buyback program.