State of Iowa Finalizes Plan for uUe of Volkswagen Settlement Monies
AMES, Iowa – A working group of state agency officials, led coordinated by the Iowa Department of Transportation, has finalized and submitted a plan outlining the use of approximately $21 million awarded to the state as a result of a 2016 settlement between Volkswagen and the United States. Iowa’s Beneficiary Mitigation Plan describes a high-level vision for use of Iowa’s allocation of funds and is intended to improve air quality in our state.
Volkswagen funds are only available for eligible projects that work to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx). Eligible projects are defined in the Environmental Mitigation Trust for State Beneficiaries that was established in the nationwide settlement of the Volkswagen litigation.
A draft mitigation plan was released on April 23, 2018, followed by a formal public comment period which ended on May 25, 2018. Approximately 120 public comments were received and reviewed by the agencies involved.
The final plan was developed with the help of comments received on the draft plan and during a public survey taken from February to April 2017. More than 500 respondents completed the survey and many others sent comments via email and letters. All 10 eligible mitigation actions received support from the public, with many requests to use the funds for school bus replacements, specifically for buses utilizing alternative fuel sources. The public was also overwhelmingly in favor of funding zero-emissions infrastructure for light-duty electric vehicles.
Iowa has combined the eligible mitigation actions into five categories and has established a target percentage of VW funds to be spent on each category:
- Class 4-8 buses – 45 percent
- Freight and port drayage trucks – 15 percent
- Non-road transport and equipment – 10 percent
- Zero-emission vehicle infrastructure – 15 percent
- Diesel Emission Reduction Act grant – 15 percent
More details about each category are outlined in the plan. These categories are geared to achieve significant, quantifiable reductions in NOx and maximize cost effectiveness while adhering to the settlement requirements.
The state of Iowa anticipates there will be three application cycles for project funding with the first call for applications expected in the fall of 2018. You will be able to find details on the project funding cycles on the state of Iowa’s Volkswagen settlement website once they have been determined. You may also wish to sign up for email updates on the progress of this initiative on this site.