Thursday, November 2, 2017

State Asks How to Spend $45M Volkswagen Settlement Money

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 1:59 PM

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Tennessee is getting more than $45.7 million in the government’s settlement with Volkswagen and state officials want to hear how you want to spend it.

In 2015, the German automaker admitted it installed software in about 590,000 of its cars to cheat emissions tests and fool state and federal regulators. In a formal complaint against the company, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act.

To settle the matter, Volkswagen placed $2.9 billion in a trust that states will share for environmental mitigation projects. Tennessee’s share was just north of $45.7 million.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has tapped the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to figure out how the money should be spent. To do that, TDEC has scheduled three meetings across the state to hear from citizens.

TDEC issued a public comment form for anyone who can't make the meetings. On that form, the agency asks citizens to pick between eight possible projects. Being honest, I'm not sure exactly what some of these choices mean. But here they are. You decide.

• Class 8 Local Freight Trucks and Port Drayage Trucks

• Class 4-8 School Buses, Shuttle Buses, or Transit Buses

• Freight Switchers

• Ferries/Tugs

• Ocean Going Vessels Shorepower

• Class 4-7 Local Freight Trucks

• Airport Ground Support Equipment

• Forklifts and Port Cargo Handling Equipment

• Light Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Supply Equipment

• Diesel Emission Reduction Act Option

The West Tennessee meeting will be at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library on Friday, Nov. 17 from 1:30 p.m.- 3 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public, but registration is required due to space restrictions. Register here.

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