Reducing diesel pollution statewide
We're managing a $28.4 million settlement from Volkswagen for violating the state's Clean Air Act. The Legislature directed us to use the money to reduce diesel pollution and spend the funds as follows:
- $12 million to replace old school buses
- $9.7 million to electrify transit buses
- $5.5 million to add electric vehicles to state vehicle fleets
- $1.2 million to help public ports buy cleaner trucks
Diesel pollution is harmful to health
Although invisible to the naked eye, nitrogen oxides in diesel pollution are extremely potent not only by themselves, but also when they react with other pollutants in the air to form smog. Research shows that prolonged exposure to smog can limit lung function in children, cause breathing trouble for people with asthma, and can even trigger heart attacks for those with heart disease. Learn more about the health impacts of diesel pollution and where the affected vehicles were located.
Air Quality Program Manager Stu Clark meets with elementary school students to talk about the state's clean school bus program.
Replacing school buses
Children are most at risk from the health effects of diesel pollution and smog. Because of that, the Legislature allocated the largest portion of funds from the settlement to replace older, polluting school buses.
There are more than 3,000 school buses in Washington that are 17 years old or older. These buses use technology that emits substantially more pollution than today's options. We'll provide up to $12 million to Washington school districts, statewide, to scrap and replace older diesel school buses with new diesel or alternate-fueled school buses.
Electrifying transit buses
Nearly five million people live in Washington's busiest transportation corridors where air pollution levels are high. Millions of students, commuters, and people who live near bus routes are exposed to pollution from transit buses each day. We're investing $9.7 million in communities statewide to reduce the amount of air pollution they breathe.
Adding electric vehicles to state fleets
In 2015, Gov. Jay Inslee announced the Washington State Electric Fleets Initiative that ensures at least 20 percent of all new state government passenger vehicle purchases are electric vehicles. We will work with state government agencies to invest $5.5 million to transform vehicles from fossil fuels to electric. Overall, this will save millions of government dollars in fuel and maintenance costs. It will also help the state meet the Governor's initiative while protecting air quality.
Helping Seattle and Tacoma public ports
The Legislature directed $1.2 million to aid the Seattle and Tacoma public ports to buy cleaner trucks or equipment. We will work directly with the ports to guide them as they determine how to invest the funds.