Governor Cuomo Announces $20 Million in Volkswagen Settlement and Federal Funds Available to Increase Number of Clean Vehicles on New York's Roads
Provides New Funding for New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program to Support Replacing Older, Heavily Polluting Vehicles with New, Cleaner Vehicles
September 24, 2019
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that more than $20 million is available for a diesel truck and bus replacement program that will help improve air quality, reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and promote investment in cleaner fuel technologies, among other benefits. A combination of more than $9 million from the state's $127.7 million portion of the federal Volkswagen settlement and the New York State Department of Transportation's allocation of approximately $11 million in federal funds will provide new funding for the New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program to permanently remove older, polluting diesel trucks from New York's roadways and replace them with new, cleaner trucks, including all-electric trucks. Funding will also be available for replacing buses in certain geographic areas.
"New York continues to lead the nation in implementing effective policies that prevent the harmful effects of air pollution and climate change by moving away from the dirty fossil fuels of the past to cleaner energy sources of the future," Governor Cuomo said. "With this investment from the Volkswagen settlement funds and federal money to support cleaner transportation options, we are removing vehicles that significantly contribute harmful emissions, allowing New York to make great progress toward achieving our goals for a healthier environment and stronger clean energy economy."
"With this funding, we are continuing to invest in clean vehicles to increase and promote their use across New York," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This settlement builds on our investments to make clean transportation more convenient and efficient as part of our aggressive energy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change."
Attorney General Letitia James said, "New York continues to be at the forefront in the fight for clean air. Whether it is holding big polluters accountable through the courts or implementing smart, innovative policies, every level of government is working hard to reduce harmful pollution and to support a healthier environment for all New Yorkers. We are proud to see these settlement dollars, which my office secured for the state, be put to good use."
In October 2016, a federal judge approved a national settlement plan to address Volkswagen's installation and use of devices in approximately 580,000 Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche vehicles that circumvented federal emissions standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx), one of the main contributors to smog and respiratory problems. The companies installed emissions control defeat device software in cars from model years 2009 through 2016, which allowed NOx emissions up to 40 times the certification standard.
With the support of the Attorney General's Office, New York received $127.7 million as part of this legal settlement. The state is investing these resources in projects to mitigate the impacts of VW's air violations. Under Clean Transportation NY, the state will use these funds to maximize the reduction of emissions of NOx and other harmful pollutants, including greenhouse gases, particulate matter, and mobile source air toxics while also spurring investment in clean transportation infrastructure.
Today's announcement was made during National Drive Electric Week, a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today's widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. The Truck Voucher Incentive Program provides point of sale rebates to reduce the cost for businesses and municipalities that want to purchase new, clean electric vehicles or repower commercial trucks and buses. The rebate reduces the incremental costs of purchasing clean trucks and buses by up to 95 percent and will help increase the number of clean vehicles on New York's roadways while removing existing, older medium- and heavy-duty diesel-powered vehicles through a scrappage requirement.
This renewal of the Truck Voucher Incentive Program represents the first use of Volkswagen settlement funding in New York State as outlined in Clean Transportation NY. At the Governor's direction, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in concert with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York Power Authority (NYPA), DOT, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and others, developed Clean Transportation NY - New York's plan to strategically invest the Volkswagen settlement resources for maximum benefit and to build on New York's national leadership on clean energy and climate change. The funds were secured to mitigate damages from the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal through the federal settlement with Volkswagen. The state's strategically leveraged investment of settlement funds is anticipated to result in at least $300 million of clean vehicles and infrastructure on New York's roadways. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is also working with DEC to use additional VW settlement funds to support charging station installations at several upstate transit bus depots. NYPA is deploying a fast-charging network across the state through its EVolveNY program, a $250 million investment in the fast charging infrastructure along major travel corridors and key byways, in urban hubs in the state's largest cities, and at major airports. The transportation sector is currently the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York, representing approximately 34 percent of the state's total emissions.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The transportation sector remains the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York and by taking action to remove the worst polluters from our roads, communities across the state will benefit, especially those overburdened by pollution in our cities. I thank the Governor for his ongoing leadership in promoting green and renewable technologies and providing incentives to improve air quality, reduce emissions, and create a sustainable future for New York's transportation industry."
Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is the undisputed leader in climate and clean energy policies. Today's investment in all electric trucks is part of a sustained and coordinated strategy to lessen the State's dependence on non-renewable energy sources and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050."
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Alicia Barton said, "New York's commitment to eliminating its carbon footprint will bring statewide health and environmental benefits for generations to come and transforming the transportation sector is critical to our success. These funds will extend valuable support to public and private fleets seeking to reduce their reliance on dirtier, less efficient fleet vehicles making a statewide transition to a cleaner, greener vehicles possible under Governor Cuomo's clean energy and climate plan."
New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, "Electrification of the transportation sector is one of the key transformations we must embrace in order to meet our aggressive clean energy targets. We, at NYPA, are pleased to see this effort to electrify more trucks and buses. NYPA's fast-charging infrastructure program, EVolveNY, will make it easier for all electric vehicle drivers, including those driving electric buses and trucks, to travel within our cities and across our great state."
Today's announcement supports the Governor's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030, setting the state on a path to economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050, improving local air quality and reducing harmful diesel emissions statewide. NYSERDA will undertake outreach to prioritize and track funding invested in environmental justice communities that are often exposed to higher levels of pollution from truck traffic.
The Truck Voucher Incentive Program will continue to be administered by NYSERDA as part of a partnership with DOT and DEC. The new funding will build on the successes achieved through previous funding that was available from 2014 through 2018 and provided incentives for the purchase of more than 600 new medium and heavy-duty alternative-fueled trucks, including 65 all-electric trucks and buses. DEC and NYSERDA are also developing additional Truck Voucher Incentive Program components to provide additional funding for other vehicle categories (e.g., all-electric transit buses, all-electric school buses, all-electric cargo handling equipment) consistent with Clean Transportation NY. In addition, another $11 million from the Volkswagen settlement will be made available in the future for additional investments in cleaner trucks.