Volkswagen settlement funds are helping MPCA clean up air pollution and invest in cleaner transportation
In 2016, German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) was caught cheating on emissions standards and violating the federal Clean Air Act by selling cars that emit air pollution over the legal limit.
As part of the settlement agreement reached with the federal government, Minnesota will receive $47 million between 2018 and 2027 from Volkswagen’s Environmental Mitigation Trust. Our goal is to use the settlement funds to support a healthy environment and reduce emissions in Minnesota, especially in communities most impacted by vehicle pollution.
Under the terms of the settlement, we can spend funds in two primary ways:
- Fund vehicle replacements. Take older, more polluting diesel vehicles off the roads and replace them with newer, cleaner models with a variety of fuel types.
- Invest in electric vehicle (EV) technology. MPCA may use a portion of funds (up to 15%) to install EV charging stations.
Minnesota’s plan provides more details on the types of projects to be funded, expected emissions reductions, and how the projects will advance environmental justice. Because vehicle and equipment technology are continually evolving, and Minnesota’s needs and desires will likely change over time, the MPCA will distribute settlement funds across three phases. This structure provides opportunities for MPCA to get feedback after each phase, incorporate lessons learned, consider new technologies, and make changes as needed.
- Phase 1, 2018-2019 (Complete): $11.75 million (25% of overall funds)
- Phase 2, 2020-2023: $23.5 million (50%)
- Phase 3, 2024-2027: $11.75 million (25%)
Current status (Phase 2)
In Phase 2, MPCA has earmarked 65% of available phase 2 funds to support electrifying our transportation sector. Projects funded will include:
- Eligible heavy-duty EVs like trucks and transit buses
- Electric school buses
- Expanding the state’s EV charging station network
The remaining 35% will continue our commitment to achieving substantial emissions reductions by replacing older, more polluting diesel-powered vehicles and equipment with newer, cleaner technology that uses a variety of fuel types. Including a variety of fuel types allows businesses and communities across Minnesota to purchase the vehicles that best fit their needs and budget. Projects funded will include: