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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today awarded more than $9.4 million through the first round of the Clean Air Communities Program to fund five government fleet electrification projects. To further advance the transition to clean vehicles, the Governor also announced a second round of $20 million to help electrify diesel and propane school buses across the Commonwealth.
The Clean Air Communities Program is administered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and was established as part of the agency’s oversight of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. The program invests in a range of technologies that provide cost-effective, near-term emission benefits coupled with investments in zero-emission technologies. Roughly three-fourths of the cost of these projects were funded through the Clean Air Communities Program with state or local governments providing over $3.7 million in matching funds.
“Supporting clean transportation solutions is a vital part of our efforts to combat climate change and improve air quality in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “These investments will reduce harmful vehicle pollution, which disproportionately impacts marginalized communities, and help accelerate an equitable transition to a cleaner economy for all Virginians.”
The first round of Clean Air Communities Program award recipients include:
In July 2020, Governor Northam announced the first round of the Clean Air Community Program with $20 million to fund the replacement of government-owned fleet vehicles. DEQ will now begin accepting applications for the second round of Clean Air Community Program funds to replace diesel buses with electric or propane school buses with applications due June 15, 2021. Additionally, a third round of funding will begin in the fall.
“Currently, approximately 99 percent of Virginia’s public school buses use diesel and more than 3,500 buses are at least 15 years old,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “This program will focus on replacing buses in disadvantaged communities already overburdened by pollution.”
In September 2019, Governor Northam directed $20 million from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust to support new initiatives aimed at deploying electric school buses across the Commonwealth. Sign up here to receive updates on funding opportunities from DEQ.
“Collectively, these Clean Air Community Program vehicle replacement projects will avoid the use of more than one million gallons of diesel fuel and prevent the release of over 12,000 tons of greenhouse gases and more than 30 tons of nitrogen oxides and diesel particulate matter,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “This new program to electrify Virginia’s school bus fleets is another important part of our comprehensive approach to reducing climate pollution.”
DEQ is the designated lead agency responsible for distributing Virginia’s share of $93.6 million from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. Approximately $82 million has been awarded or earmarked for innovative projects including electric transit, school and shuttle buses, electric equipment at the Port of Virginia, and the development of a statewide electric vehicle charging network.
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