California's Beneficiary Mitigation Plan
On May 25, 2018, the Board approved California's Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, following a 7-month public process. Excerpted language from the Executive Summary is shown below; the full Beneficiary Mitigation Plan may be accessed by selecting the download button from this page.
Excerpt from the Executive Summary
The Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (Plan) for California contains the eligible mitigation actions (or project funding categories) that the California Air Resources Board (CARB or Board) will fund from the State’s $423 million allocation of the Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust (Trust or Mitigation Trust). The Board approved this Plan at a public meeting on May 25, 2018. The Trust is an element of the settlement with Volkswagen for their use of an illegal defeat device (software designed to cheat emissions tests) in certain 2.0- and 3.0-liter VW diesel vehicles. CARB is the designated Lead Agency acting on the State’s behalf as beneficiary to implement California’s allocation of the $3 billion national Trust. As provided in two court-approved Partial Consent Decrees (Consent Decrees), the Mitigation Trust is intended to fully mitigate the lifetime excess oxides of nitrogen (NOX) emissions caused by VW’s actions.
Staff estimates the funding described in this Plan will result in over 10,000 tons of NOX reductions over a 10‑year period, fully mitigating the excess NOX caused by the subject VW vehicles. In addition, the funding will support advanced technology vehicle and equipment deployments and accelerate the zero‑emission transformation of the heavy‑duty fleet, all of which are necessary to meet the State’s air quality, climate change, zero-emission vehicle, and petroleum use reduction goals. Unlike other states that are also beneficiaries of the Trust, California’s air quality challenges have resulted in many groundbreaking regulations to drastically cut air pollution and improve public health. These regulations apply to the existing in‑use, on-road heavy-duty and off-road fleets in the State – sectors to which the majority of the project funding categories in the Consent Decree apply – and to light-duty vehicle manufacturers, many of whom must comply with California’s Zero‑Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Regulation. This funding ensures emission reductions resulting from the use of Trust funds are direct and surplus to reductions that are already being credited to those regulatory efforts.
Table 1: Project Funding Categories and Allocations
Eligible Mitigation Action Project Funding Category
Benefiting Disadvantaged or
Zero-Emission Transit, School, and Shuttle Buses
Zero-Emission Class 8 Freight and Port Drayage Trucks
Zero-Emission Freight and Marine Projects
Forklifts and Port Cargo Handling Equipment
Airport Ground Support Equipment
Oceangoing Vessel Shore Power
Zero-Emission Ferry, Tugboat, and Towboat Repowers
Combustion Freight and Marine Projects
Low NOX Class 7-8 Freight Trucks
Tier 4 Freight Switchers
Tier 4 or Hybrid Ferry, Tugboat, and Towboat Repowers
Light-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure
Reserve (including administrative costs)
The funding allocations above provide a balanced approach for fully mitigating the excess NOX by investing in cost-effective projects using cleaner combustion technologies, such as low NOX, and for committing to long-term goals by investing in zero-emission technologies. Staff believes that focusing exclusively on the projects that are most cost-effective today would miss the opportunity to accelerate deployment of zero‑emission technologies, thereby jeopardizing our ability to meet 2030 and 2050 goals. There is no doubt that these more transformative zero-emission technologies are more expensive today than combustion-based technologies. The State’s investments are intended to help commercialize these technologies and bring down costs through economies of scale, so they become the cost-effective technologies of tomorrow. Conversely, focusing solely on more expensive advanced technologies with a longer‑term payoff would miss the opportunity for near‑term emission reductions and would not fully mitigate the excess NOX as required for this funding.
The Consent Decree requires that the Plan consider the estimated air quality benefits of the project funding categories on areas that are disproportionately affected by air pollution. Additionally, in Senate Bill (SB) 92 the State Legislature set a 35 percent target for the State’s Trust allocation to benefit disadvantaged or low-income communities; staff estimates that more than 50 percent of the total project funds in the Plan will benefit these communities.
 California’s total Trust allocation is $422,636,320.