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TDEC Announces Awardees for Transit and Shuttle Bus Grant Program Under Volkswagen Settlement

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 | 05:22pm

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) today announced that the following three entities will receive $5,690,845.53 in grant funding to support transit bus replacement projects across Tennessee:

  • Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority
  • City of Knoxville (Knoxville Area Transit)
  • Memphis Area Transit Authority

These projects will be funded under TDEC’s Transit and Shuttle Bus Grant Program, which is the state’s second grant program to be funded by the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust (VW Settlement EMT). The purpose of the trust is to execute environmental mitigation projects that reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx).

“These grants will allow us to provide energy-efficient buses for transit systems in three of our largest communities, where mass transit is a key service,” Gov. Bill Lee said. “These grants meet a need and meet the spirit of the settlement.”

“These grants will support the adoption of all-electric and diesel-hybrid buses, so they will have a significant environmental impact,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “This will help reduce emissions and enhance quality of life in these communities.”

The grants include:

  • Chattanooga Area Regional Transit Authority – Will be awarded $1,882,203.00 in funding to support the replacement of three diesel transit buses with three all-electric transit buses as well as the acquisition and installation of associated charging infrastructure.
  • City of Knoxville/Knoxville Area Transit – Will be awarded $1,695,907.53 in funding to support the replacement of three diesel transit buses with three diesel-hybrid transit buses.
  • Memphis Area Transit Authority – Will be awarded $2,112,750.00 in funding to support the replacement of three diesel transit buses with three all-electric transit buses as well as the acquisition and installation of associated charging infrastructure.

The grantees will thus replace a total of nine engine model year 2009 or older diesel transit buses with six all-electric and three diesel-hybrid transit buses. These projects are expected to yield NOx emissions reductions of an estimated 17,027.46 pounds, or 8.51 tons, over the lifetime of the new vehicles. All nine transit buses funded will operate 70 percent or more of the time in former nonattainment areas for ozone and/or fine particulate matter (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standards and will collectively travel more than 400,000 miles each year.

In 2019, TDEC awarded over $8,380,826.94 in VW Settlement EMT funding to 37 grantees to support school bus replacement projects across Tennessee. TDEC is the lead agency for administering the state’s VW Settlement EMT allocation. Announcements on future funding programs under the trust will be shared by the department.

For additional information on the VW Settlement, visit the TDEC website here: http://www.tn.gov/environment/VWSettlement. Interested persons and entities are advised to sign up for the TDEC VW email list at https://signup.e2ma.net/signup/1843437/1737620/.