Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust for California
The Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust (Trust) provides about $423 million for California to mitigate the excess nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions caused by VW's use of illegal emissions testing defeat devices in certain VW diesel vehicles. The Trust is a component of partial settlements with VW and is enumerated in the first Partial Consent Decree as Appendix D. As required by the Consent Decree, California developed a Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (Plan) through an extensive public process, and that plan was approved by the Board in May 2018.
The Consent Decree provides funding opportunities for specified eligible actions that are focused mostly on "scrap and replace" projects for the heavy-duty sector, including on-road freight trucks, transit and shuttle buses, school buses, forklifts and port cargo handling equipment, commercial marine vessels, and freight switcher locomotives.
CARB entered into agreements with Bay Area AQMD, San Joaquin APCD and South Coast AQMD to administer specific funding categories defined in the Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, each on a statewide basis with the goal of ensuring that 50 percent of the total funding benefit low-income or disadvantaged communities. Funding is still available today, however, program changes were needed to increase participation by better aligning VW incentives with other programs and, ultimately, expedite our ability to achieve NOx reductions. These changes are documented in an April 24 memo to the CARB Board and were developed based on lessons learned during the first years of implementation, feedback from stakeholders, and ongoing coordination with the implementing air districts.
Moving forward, the air districts will incorporate these changes into their respective categories and will update their program webpages as changes are implemented.