The plan would use the money to reduce air pollution from diesel vehicles and boost electric vehicles.
Washington state plans to use its $112.7 million share of a federal settlement with Volkswagen to improve air quality and “transform the transportation system,” according to a statement from the state Department of Ecology.
The plan would use the money to reduce air pollution from diesel vehicles and to increase access to infrastructure for electric vehicles. That would mean installing electric-vehicle charging stations and replacing diesel engines in buses, public vehicles and vessels with electric or cleaner diesel engines.
“This settlement represents an opportunity to begin building a transportation system for the next 100 years in our state,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. “By investing in zero-emission or near-zero-emission vehicles, vessels and infrastructure, we can dramatically reduce pollution, better protect the public, and slash carbon emissions in Washington.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of California negotiated a $14.7 billion nationwide settlement with Volkswagen for violating the federal Clean Air Act after the automaker was caught installing illegal software on vehicles allowing them to cheat on emissions tests.
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The vehicles emitted up to 40 times the permitted levels of nitrogen oxides, a pollutant linked to asthma attacks and increased deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular disease, according to Ecology.
About 24,000 of the affected vehicles were registered in Washington.
“By cheating emissions tests, Volkswagen exposed Washingtonians to more pollution and threatened their health,” Ecology Director Maia Bellon said in a news release. “Using this settlement to right those wrongs and protect our communities in the future is the best investment we can make.”
See the full plan here. A webinar on the plan is scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 28, and a Facebook town hall is scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 29.
To comment on the plan, go here or mail comments to Brett Rude, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600.