We invest funds from the Volkswagen settlement and our Clean Diesel program in projects that reduce emissions from transportation to improve air quality and people's health. These investments support the transition to zero-emission transportation systems in Washington. We prioritize projects that benefit communities disproportionately impacted by air pollution.
Improving air quality, people's health, and the environment
Diesel-powered vehicles, vessels, and equipment emit nitrogen oxides, fine particles, greenhouse gases, and other pollutants that harm people's health and the environment. People who live near busy roads, ports, railways, and other transportation corridors may be at higher risk of negative health effects, such as persistent coughing, asthma, lung diseases, and other health issues.
Learn more about the health effects from diesel pollution and what you can do to protect yourself and your family.
Environmental justice and equity
The Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act requires us and our partners to identify and address environmental health disparities in overburdened communities and underserved populations. Our Office of Equity and Environmental Justice leads our strategy to reduce pollution and health disparities in communities most at risk.
We use the Washington Department of Health’s Washington Tracking Network (WTN) map to help us identify disproportionately impacted areas and prioritize where to invest funds.
Learn more about the WTN tool below.
The Washington Department of Health incorporates the index, “Diesel Pollution and Disproportionate Impact," into the Washington Tracking Network online mapping tool.
The map allows users to compare air pollution at the census track level across the state. A census track with a higher score represents communities that are experiencing higher diesel pollution as well as social inequities.
The tool incorporates two factors to determine the score for each census track:
- A Diesel Pollution Burden factor, which represents the approximate mass of diesel emissions
- A Priority Populations factor, which averages six socio-economic data points:
- Limited English – Percent of population five years and older who speak English less than “very well"
- No high school diploma — Percent of people who have not received a high school diploma or GED by age 25
- People of color — A sum of all race/ethnicity categories except white/non-hispanic
- Population living in poverty — Percent of people earning less than or equal to 185% of the federal poverty level
- Unaffordable housing — Households spending greater than 30% of their income on housing costs
- Unemployed — Population 16 years and older in the workforce and registered as unemployed
Clean transportation policy and coordination
Our clean transportation grants support projects that reduce pollution from diesel vehicles by replacing them with zero-emission vehicles. We prioritize project investment in areas disproportionately impacted by air pollution and incentivize the purchase and installation of necessary fueling infrastructure.
Statewide efforts, such as the Climate Commitment Act, the Clean Fuel Standard, and several zero-emission vehicle standards, are also supporting and incentivizing the transition to zero-emission transportation in Washington.
The Washington Interagency Electric Vehicle Coordinating Council (EV Council) was created in the 2022 legislative session so that state agencies can better collaborate on efforts to accelerate electric vehicle adoption and reduce transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions.