Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday a new funding opportunity and revised plan to spend its share of a multi-billion-dollar Volkswagen Settlement on funding for electric school buses and other public transit.
In a press release on Thursday, state officials announced they were seeking applicants for $9 million in funding to electrify school buses in the Chicagoland area and Metro-East.
“This is a critical step forward in protecting our environment and building a greener transportation sector in Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The VW Settlement provides Illinois with a tremendous opportunity to lead the nation in clean transportation, furthering my administration’s ongoing commitment to address the impacts of climate change in our communities.”
The Volkswagen Settlement is the resolution of a U.S Department of Justice investigation that found the company violated the federal Clean Air Act by installing devices in certain diesel vehicles to circumvent emissions standards, according to the press release.
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Illinois has $88.6 million remaining in funds from the settlement and in addition to the $9 million in electric school bus grants, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency officials are also calling on a revision to the state’s Beneficiary Mitigation Fund. The revamp would replace old diesel engines with electric school buses, public transit and infrastructure projects to promote cleaner air.
“This funding opportunity and revised BMP reflects Governor Pritzker and the Illinois EPA’s commitment to supporting growth of the electric vehicle market in Illinois,” said Illinois EPA Director John Kim. “Illinois EPA looks forward to continuing to administer the VW Settlement to provide environmental, public health, and economic benefits to the areas of Illinois that need it most.”
Illinois EPA has previously awarded over $19 million in Volkswagen Settlement funds for public transit projects in the Chicagoland area, and electric school bus projects in the Chicagoland and Metro East areas.