LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska has approved a total of $3.1 million in Volkswagen (VW) settlement funds for new school and transit buses.
The funding for the new buses accounts for about 25% of the state’s total $12.25 million share of the VW Environmental Mitigation Trust.
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ), the agency overseeing the state's distribution of VW funds, estimates that, over an approximated lifetime of 15 years for the new school buses and transit buses, emissions of nitrogen oxide will be reduced by 29 tons and particulates by 1 ton, according to a news release from the NDEQ.
“The new buses will have much lower emissions than the buses they are replacing,” said Jim Macy, director of the NDEQ. “As a result, schoolchildren, transit bus passengers, and the public along the bus routes will experience substantially reduced exposure to these harmful diesel pollutants.”
A total of $1.8 million ($1,891,527) has been designated to assist 41 school districts in purchasing one new replacement bus. Each of the participating districts will receive either 50% reimbursement for a new diesel bus (maximum payment $42,000) or 60% reimbursement (maximum $57,000) for a new propane-fueled bus that meets stricter emissions requirements, according to the news release. Several school districts have already completed their projects and received their reimbursement. (View a complete list of the schools and amounts awarded here.)
In addition, NDEQ is using VW funds to supplement federal funding of the Nebraska Clean Diesel program, and future projects are expected to include the funding of public electric vehicle charging stations, among other initiatives.
For more information on the plan for the settlement funds, go here.