Connecticut is spending money from the legal settlement in the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal to fund five electric projects, including in Bethel. the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says $12.7 million will be awarded in this round to help to replace 43 diesel school buses with new electric school buses. The recipients will match the funding with investments of $7.2 million.
First Student has been awarded $3.2 million, and will pay an additional $1.7 million to scrap and replace 16 buses in Bethel, Hamden, and Stamford. This is partial funding of an initial proposal to replace a total of 25 diesel school buses which also included buses in Middlebury and Tolland.
DEEP says this represent an unprecedented level of investment for Connecticut, at a time when the state needs to make significant strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.
In 2015, Volkswagen publicly admitted that it had deliberately installed software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators – in nearly 590,000 vehicles sold nationwide, with nearly 12,000 sold in Connecticut. The five projects selected for funding under this funding cycle, over their lifetime, will reduce almost 28.71 tons of NOx emissions and almost 5,589 tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
In addition to NOx and GHG, a total of 2.30 tons of volatile organic compounds and 1.38 tons of fine particulate matter, which contributes to asthma and other negative health impacts, will be cost-effectively reduced from environmental justice communities and other areas of Connecticut that bear a disproportionate share of air pollution.