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Connecticut will replace 43 diesel buses using settlement funds from Volkswagen

Bridgeport Transportation Center
Lil Keller
WSHU Public Radio

Forty-three diesel school buses across Connecticut are being replaced with new electric buses, funded by $12.7 million the state received from a legal settlement with Volkswagen Corp. following an emissions cheating scandal.

The new buses will operate in Middletown, New Britain, Hamden, Stamford, Bethel, Ansonia and Griswold. The purchases represent an “unprecedented level of electric vehicle school bus investment” for the state, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

“The innovative projects we’re announcing today are a tremendous investment in ensuring a healthier environment especially for our children," Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement. “Everyday thousands of children ride school buses throughout Connecticut. Diesel-powered school buses are a source of fine particulate matter and other harmful emissions that can impact developing lungs.”

Additionally, $3.1 million of the $12.7 million from the Volkswagen settlement will be spent on replacing a 1973 diesel-powered crane with an electric one at the port of New Haven. DEEP said the new electrified crane is among the first of its kind on the East Coast.

In 2015, German automaker Volkswagen admitted it had deliberately installed software designed to cheat emissions tests in nearly 590,000 diesel vehicles sold nationwide, including 12,000 sold in Connecticut. Connecticut was awarded more than $55.7 million over 10 years as part of a federal civil enforcement case. The money is supposed to be used to offset excess nitrogen oxide pollution emitted by these vehicles.

Funding for the buses and the crane stem from the third round of grants. They're matched with additional investment from the recipients. DEEP received 28 applications from both non-government and government entities for this latest round of funding which state officials said is an indication of the growing demand for EV school buses in Connecticut.

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