Q: Which state agency will administer the settlement funds for Washington?
A: The governor has identified Ecology as the lead agency to manage the Volkswagen settlement funds. The governor also has asked Ecology and the Washington Department of Transportation to partner on project selection with consideration of the state’s Results Washington goal of 50,000 electric vehicles by 2020.
Q: Will Ecology be creating a competitive grant program?
A: That hasn’t been determined yet. We’re currently developing a plan on how to administer the funds. Once we have a draft plan we will share it with the public.
Q: When will the funds be available?
A: We estimate the funds will be available to state and tribal beneficiaries about six months after the Volkswagen trust is established.
Q: Are the settlement monies state or federal funds?
A: The funds are not state nor federal funds. Volkswagen is putting funds in a trust that will be used to reduce nitrogen oxides. Those monies are referred to as the mitigation funds.
Q: Who is leading the outreach efforts and how and how do I get notices?
A: Ecology’s Air Quality Program will be leading the outreach efforts. You can sign up to receive emails on our Volkswagen web pages.
Q: Will your outreach plan include stakeholder meetings?
A: We’re developing outreach activities that will give people and groups a variety of ways to stay informed and opportunities to get involved. We’ve received a number of meeting requests and will connect with groups throughout winter and spring of 2017. We’ve already met with several state agencies and some legislative staff.
Q: When can the public provide input?
A: The public will have multiple opportunities to provide input. You can sign up to receive emails about ways to get involved on our Volkswagen web pages. Opportunities for input will begin in later winter and early spring of 2017.
Q: Who can apply to be beneficiaries? Is it Ecology, or does Ecology certify beneficiaries?
A: All 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and tribes may apply to become beneficiaries of trust funds. Each approved beneficiary will receive a specific amount of money based on the number of affected vehicles registered in their area.
Q: Can the funds be distributed to joint projects?
A: Ecology is still developing the plan for distributing funds. Our initial thinking is that we expect organizations and governments could establish joint projects.
Q: Could a private developer seek to receive funds as well (e.g., development of a large conference center)?
A: The consent decree sets very specific uses for the funds. Construction of commercial buildings is not on the list. However, funds may be used to install electric vehicle charging stations at public places.
Q: Are eligible uses of mitigation trust funds limited to replacing the vehicle types or paying for zero emission vehicle infrastructure or equipment?
A: Eligible projects include repowering and replacing vehicles and equipment. Zero emission vehicle infrastructure projects also are eligible projects in the consent decree. A list of eligible projects is on our website and a very detailed outline of equipment categories and project types is in Appendix D-2 of the Volkswagen consent decree.