Top state environmental officials plan to push for wider use of electric vehicles as a result of the $72.2 million it received from a federal settlement with Volkswagen.
The state’s share is the result of a $2.9 billion federal suit stemming from the Volkswagen emission scandal, whereby the German automaker was revealed to have been installing devices to cheat state emissions testing programs across the U.S.
“Through this settlement, we have the opportunity to make investments to clean up our air, righting a wrong for disproportionately impacted communities and setting New Jersey on a path to a clean energy and transportation future,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a prepared statement.
Officials at the state Department of Environmental Protection plan to use the funds for programs that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and smog-producing gases, and help the communities that they have disproportionately affected, according to a DEP statement.
The DEP’s draft plan, released Monday, calls for the agency to use the majority of the money to install new charger stations and phase out older vehicles, replacing them with electric vehicles
“Our goal is to use New Jersey’s share of the national Volkswagen settlement to develop programs that are consistent with Gov. Murphy’s commitment to reduce smog as well as greenhouse gas emissions, advance environmental justice goals in urban areas and expand the use of electric vehicles,” wrote DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe.
Meanwhile, the Legislature next week will consider Senate Bill 2252, which would establish a statewide electric vehicle charging system.