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January 06, 2020   |  


Volkswagen Clean Air Act settlement pays for diesel trucks, electric school buses and hybrid garbage trucks in Massachusetts

Communities from Wilbraham to Martha’s Vineyard will use $7.5 million in grants from the state Department of Environmental Protection, funded by a federal settlement with several automakers, to help pay for vehicles ranging from diesel trucks to hybrid garbage trucks.

The department awarded grants for 98 projects, supporting the purchase of electric vehicles, liquid-propane-gas school buses, “cleaner diesel trucks" and ferry engines. One grant will pay for a marine shore-power installation.

The money is from a settlement agreement the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency negotiated with Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Audi, and Porsche, involving violations of the Clean Air Act. The federal government’s enforcement against them began Jan. 4, 2016.

Massachusetts will see a total of $75 million from the settlement over 15 years.

The round of grants includes $304,380 to Wilbraham to purchase two diesel trucks and $140,437 to Amherst to purchase a diesel truck.

In a letter to the Amherst Town Council, Town Manager Paul Bockelman on Jan. 3 said the town would contribute $37,000 toward buying a tri-axle roll-off truck for the Department of Public Works to use in garbage collection and disposal.

“It is estimated that this new vehicle will reduce the amount of diesel gas used by 1,150 gallons per year,” he said, adding that the town expects to apply for another grant in future, since there is about $50 million remaining in the settlement funds.

The town’s sustainability coordinator and public works superintendent collaborated on the grant application, the letter said.

The largest grants in the state were $500,000.

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