A key step in the progress of the Volkswagen (VW) diesel mitigation funding was reached on Monday as the U.S. government filed trust agreements for state beneficiaries.
The VW Environmental Mitigation Trust will provide states with a total of nearly $3 billion for projects to cut nitrogen oxide from large vehicles, including school buses. The funding is part of multiple settlements for the German automaker, which was accused of cheating emissions tests with its diesel cars.
Monday, Oct. 2, became the “Trust Effective Date” for the Environmental Mitigation Trust. Now, states have 60 days to elect to become beneficiaries in the program. Each beneficiary will get an allocation of funds based primarily on the number of registered illegal Volkswagen vehicles within its boundaries.
Before states can spend their share of the funding, they have to develop beneficiary mitigation plans and submit them to the trustee, Wilmington Trust N.A. Those plans will be due 90 days after a state becomes a beneficiary.
The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) informed its members of the Trust Effective Date in an email on Tuesday.
“We continue to encourage states, local school districts, and contractors to remain engaged with the lead agency designated in your state (the 'beneficiary') to administer the program, and to let them know your need to repower or replace older buses not meeting current emissions standards,” NASDPTS Executive Director Charlie Hood wrote.
For many states, contact information for the lead agencies involved in the mitigation plans is available on the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) website. Also, NACAA and the National Association of State Energy Officials have launched a VW Settlement Clearinghouse with additional information and resources.