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September 15, 2020   |  


Madison to receive $7.5M grant from VW cheating settlement for new diesel buses

For the second time in two years the city of Madison is planning to use money from the Volkswagen emissions cheating settlement fund to buy diesel-powered buses.

The city is in line to receive $7.5 million from the state-administered fund as part of a second round of transit capital grants announced Wednesday by Gov. Tony Evers’ administration.

The funds will offset the cost to replace 15 buses with an average of more than 430,000 miles on the odometer. The city will repay 75% of the funds — roughly $5.6 million — through reductions in state aid.

According to the city’s application, the new “clean diesel” buses will burn low-sulfur diesel and “virtually eliminate” nitrogen oxide and small particle emissions that are associated with asthma, heart disease and cancer.

But they will also be a source of carbon dioxide and will likely remain on the road well past 2030, the target date for slashing half the city’s carbon emissions in the city’s sustainability plan.

While acknowledging the benefits of public transit, environmental advocates say the funds would be better used to promote electric vehicles, which are seen as key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

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