The $18.7 million in VW Mitigation Trust funds present an exciting opportunity for Vermont to move toward a cleaner transportation system. Done right, we can reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions while also improving public health and strengthening our communities.
It’s important to invest these one-time funds in clean, fossil-fuel free technologies – like electric school and transit busses, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Strategic investments will help us leap forward at this crucial moment — investing in “clean diesel” will not. Though eligible for funding, “clean” diesel is not clean, and it squanders a good opportunity to use these funds to create a more clean, 21st century transportation system. Not only are electric vehicles instrumental in reducing air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, Vermont has the opportunity to use our renewable electricity sources as a way to power our vehicles with clean fuels that help reduce fuel costs, stabilize the grid, and benefit the health of our communities and environment. Making a large, focused investment to replace the majority of buses in a school or transit fleet, for example, helps transform our transportation system where it matters most. We’re pleased that the Administration indicated that it has heard the recommendation from VNRC and others to spend the maximum allowable amount on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Through the upcoming public process we hope that they’ll take public input to invest electric replacements to heavy duty diesel vehicles just as seriously.
We encourage our members and activists to weigh in at: http://dec.vermont.gov/air-quality/vw