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Pennsylvania Announces First Grants Funded by Volkswagen Settlement to Reduce Air Pollution

September 28, 2018

Governor Tom Wolf today announced the first round of grant approvals through his Driving PA Forward initiative, funded by Pennsylvania’s share of the settlement with Volkswagen Group of America for cheating on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions tests. Six transportation projects designed to improve air quality in Pennsylvania are expected to permanently reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions statewide by 27 tons by accelerating the replacement of older, polluting diesel engines with cleaner technologies.

“We are making strategic investments that will bolster our continued efforts to improve air quality throughout the commonwealth with the funding awarded from the VW emissions cheating scandal,” said Governor Wolf. “The projects announced today are only the first wave of projects that will be funded to build the next generation of cleaner transportation options.”

Over 25 percent of NOx pollution in Pennsylvania comes from diesel engines in trucks, buses, forklifts, and other mobile sources. The emissions contribute to ground-level ozone, or smog, which the EPA has shown can have negative health impacts, including asthma attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“Through these first projects, old diesel-powered school buses, locomotives, and municipal vehicles will be replaced or updated with newer, cleaner transportation technologies for a sizable reduction in nitrogen oxide,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Hydrocarbons, fine particulate matter, and carbon monoxide will also be reduced. All of this will help improve air quality in communities across Pennsylvania.”

The projects are the first for the governor’s Driving PA Forward initiative, launched in May with the goal of permanently reducing NOx pollution by 27,700 tons by supporting clean transportation projects with funding from Pennsylvania’s $118 million settlement with Volkswagen.

Six projects in four counties received more than $580,000 from Driving PA Forward and the EPA State Clean Diesel Program.

Allegheny County

  • The City of Pittsburgh received $170,000 to replace two older diesel trash trucks with new trucks fueled by compressed natural gas.
  • Elizabeth Township received $38,639 to replace an older diesel-powered construction vehicle with a new diesel-powered model.
  • Allegheny Transportation Services, Inc. received $22,286 to replace an older diesel school bus with a newer diesel-powered bus. This family-owned business provides transportation for the City of Pittsburgh, two school districts, and community organizations.

Lackawanna County

  • The City of Scranton received $128,723 to replace two older diesel-powered street sweepers with two newer diesel-powered street sweepers.

Lancaster County

  • Shultz Transportation, which services four school districts, received $200,000 to replace 10 older diesel-powered school buses with 10 newer diesel school buses.

Northampton County

  • Lehigh Valley Rail Management LLC received $30,086 to install idling-reduction units in six locomotives. The short-line railroad operates 20 hours daily over 40 miles of track in Bethlehem.

The VW settlement will also support the roll out of grant and rebate programs for electric vehicle and hydrogen fuel cell equipment; shore-based electric power systems for ocean-going vessels; and replacement or repowering of heavy-duty trucks and transit buses; medium-duty trucks, school buses, shuttle buses, and port drayage trucks; and forklifts, airport ground support equipment, port cargo handling equipment, ferries, tugboats, and freight switcher locomotives.

For more information on the Wolf Administration’s efforts to support clean energy and improve air quality, visit: www.depgis.state.pa.us/DrivingPAForward.

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