Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced New York will utilize the $127.7 million received from the 2016 Volkswagen settlement to dramatically increase the number of electric vehicles and other clean vehicles in the state. Covered vehicles include new buses, trucks, locomotives, ferries, tug boats, and cargo handling equipment, as well as the availability of electric vehicle charging equipment statewide.
At the Governor’s direction, the state Department of Environmental Conservation in concert with the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, New York Power Authority, state Department of Transportation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and others, developed Clean Transportation NY – New York’s plan to strategically invest settlement resources for maximum benefit and to build on New York’s national leadership on clean energy and climate change.
The funds were secured through the Attorney General’s settlement with Volkswagen in close collaboration with DEC. The state’s strategically leveraged investment of settlement funds is anticipated to result in at least $300 million of clean vehicles and infrastructure on New York’s roadways.
“Combatting climate change and air pollution and protecting our environment is critical to the very future of this great state,” Governor Cuomo said. “As Washington continues to roll back protections, New York is more committed than ever to supporting cleaner, greener transportation technologies. By strategically investing these settlement funds, we can take real action to improve community health and sustainability, while providing incentives to address one of the largest causes of harmful pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.”
In October 2016, a federal judge approved a national settlement plan to address Volkswagen’s installation and use of devices in approximately 580,000 Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche vehicles that circumvented federal emissions standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx), one of the main contributors to smog and respiratory problems. The companies installed emissions control defeat device software in cars from model years 2009 through 2016, which allowed NOx emissions up to 40 times the certification standard.
With the support of the Attorney General’s Office, New York received $127.7 million as part of this legal settlement. The state will invest these resources in projects to mitigate the impacts of VW’s air violations. Under Clean Transportation NY, the state will use these funds to maximize the reduction of emissions of NOx and other harmful pollutants, including greenhouse gases, particulate matter, and mobile source air toxics while also spurring investment in clean transportation infrastructure.
As part of its aggressive efforts to fight climate change, the state plans to use more than 60 percent of the funding to accelerate the adoption of electrified transportation by reducing the cost of electric buses and trucks, particularly transit buses, and providing funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In addition, New York will replace or re-power older, high-polluting diesel-powered trucks, school buses, and equipment with cleaner vehicles and equipment. The state will prioritize replacement of older, dirty vehicles and equipment with emission-free electric versions and will fund replacement with other new, much lower-emitting technologies that would provide substantially greater emission reductions for the funding available.
New York’s actions are designed to both mitigate the impacts of the excess NOx emissions from VW vehicles and provide incentives to transition to newer, cleaner vehicles for public transit, individual use, and freight transport. NOx emission reductions achieved by the plan will exceed the emissions from the faulty VW vehicles and will be equivalent to removing 65,000 automobiles from the road, which will improve air quality statewide.
The Clean Transportation NY plan strategies are also designed to reduce NOx emissions in areas disproportionately impacted by diesel pollution, including environmental justice (EJ) communities. The plan is designed both to stimulate the transition to electric equipment, trucks, and buses and maximize NOx emission reductions, particularly in EJ communities, by replacing old, dirty vehicles like garbage trucks and drayage trucks with cleaner, lower-emitting new vehicles.
Additional Clean Transportation NY investments will fund electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support and encourage the growth of all-electric ground support equipment at airports and light-duty, on-road all-electric vehicles throughout the state. The mitigation plan will also bolster the state’s Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) program, which requires vehicle manufacturers to research, develop, and market electric vehicles that will have zero tailpipe emissions. Governor Cuomo’s aggressive actions to support electric vehicle sales and infrastructure have already increased the number of electric vehicles sold in New York 67 percent from 2016 to 2017.