State to use Volkswagen settlement to help reduce pollution from vehicles

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For immediate release: Sept. 19, 2019
Jessica Bralish, Director of Communications
DENVER: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment-- alongside the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Energy Office, and Regional Air Quality Council-- announced today that it has revised how it will disburse the remainder of the state’s $68.7 million portion of the national Volkswagen settlement. The departments will allocate the remaining funds, totaling about $48 million, to aid in the adoption of zero emission vehicles throughout the state.
“Last January as my first Executive Order, I chose to prioritize public health, enhance consumer choice, and grow our economy by taking steps to address our state’s air pollution and climate change. Colorado is poised to lead on the transition to renewable, cleaner energy, and this investment is another signal of our commitment to getting this done. It’s a transition that will provide Coloradans with more ways to get around, save people money, and help us reduce smog,” said Governor Jared Polis.
The revisions are in response to Governor Polis’s directive to use eligible investments to advance the electrification of transportation, including transit buses, school buses, and trucks, as outlined in Executive Order B2019 002.
“If we are going to reduce pollution in Colorado, which we must do, we need to make the transition to electric and other zero emission vehicles as easy as possible. Tailpipe emissions degrade everyone’s right to breathe clean air. It’s why we must invest in the transition to electric vehicles for passenger cars, trucks, and buses,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
"The pace of innovation and technological change in transportation is accelerating,” said Will Toor, executive director, Colorado Energy Office. “Battery costs have reduced 80% in the last decade, which is driving down the costs of electric cars and starting to make electric buses and trucks cost competitive. Zero emission vehicles are the future, and these VW funds will give transit agencies, school districts and fleet owners the opportunity to begin this transition."
“Electrifying our transit fleet will allow more Coloradans to experience the benefits of zero emission vehicles,” said Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “Transit agencies are starting to look at how they can use new technologies to reduce congestion on the road and pollution in the air, and these funds are an important tool to help support this transition.”
“We are excited about the revised plan and the transition to zero emission vehicles to reduce ozone pollution and greenhouse gases. Reducing these emissions is critical towards moving our region into compliance with federal ozone standards,” said Mike Silverstein, executive director, Regional Air Quality Council. “Funding programs within the plan will allow public and private fleets to accelerate their transition to zero emission vehicles.”
The remaining funds will be available to public and private fleets that want to replace vehicles and equipment with fully electric or renewable natural gas powered vehicles and equipment. Examples of eligible vehicles are tractor trailers, refuse trucks, delivery trucks, cement trucks, semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, commercial passenger vans, airport ground equipment, railroad freight switchers, forklifts, etc.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is designated as the state’s lead agency to oversee the administration of the Volkswagen settlement. Eligible fleets should read the revised plan and apply for funds to transition to electrified vehicles.
Media contacts:
Jessica Bralish, Colo. Dept. of Public Health and Environment, 303-349-7527,
Matt Inzeo, Colo. Dept. of Transportation, 303-757-9362,
Heatheryn Higgins, Colo. Energy Office, 720-450-0855,
Sara Goodwin, Regional Air Quality Council, 720-254-7329,
Conor Cahill, Governor Polis, 303-866-6324,