The Maine Department of Transportation is seeking to distribute the last of its Volkswagen environmental mitigation settlement funds – roughly $3 million – to “eligible parties” still operating a vehicle with a diesel engine from 2009 or earlier. If approved, they may receive between 25 percent and 80 percent of the base price of a new vehicle via grants from that settlement fund.
This is the second round of competitive funding, the Maine DOT noted in a statement. The first round, announced last year, resulted in payments totaling nearly $2 million, the agency said.
Those monies come from the $15 billion penalty the German car maker paid as part of a consent decree hammered out with the Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency three years ago; a decree resulting from Volkswagen’s use of so-called “defeat devices” on 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel-engine vehicles sold in the United States to skirt mandated emission levels.
Some $3 billion of that settlement went towards the creation of a “mitigation projects fund” for the U.S. the transportation sector for states and tribes to tap over 10 years to pay for a range of projects aimed at reducing emissions, such as replacing older-model trucks or fleet vehicles, acquiring zero- or low-emission transit buses, retrofitting harbor tugboats and ferries with cleaner-burning power units, replacing ground vehicles at airports and re-powering locomotives.
Maine received just over than $21 million dollars from the mitigation projects fund, the Maine DOT said, and used $5 million of it to fund the Appendix D-2 Eligible Mitigation Action category to replace older-model diesel vehicles. All applications to receive this second and last round of mitigation grant money must be received by the Maine DOT by November 15 this year, the agency added.