50 electric buses coming to local transit agencies; $13.3M from VW settlement used to reduce diesel pollution

  • Wednesday, June 12, 2019 11:20am
  • Business

The number of electric buses rolling through Washington communities will more than double in the months ahead as the Washington Department of Ecology invests $13.3 million to help local transit agencies buy 50 zero-emission, battery-powered electric buses.

Ecology officials announced the additions in a new release Wednesday.

“This is a transformational investment in our clean energy future and continues to push Washington toward zero-emission transportation technology,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Getting 50 more all-electric buses on the road is a big step forward, and it will pay off in better air quality across our state.”

Transit agencies in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Clark, Benton and Spokane counties will receive up to $300,000 per bus from Washington’s $112.7 million share of the federal Volkswagen settlement. The grants are intended to help cover the additional costs of purchasing an electric bus, compared to a conventional diesel bus. Transit agencies can also use some of the funding to pay for charging stations.

Heavy-duty diesel engines in buses and trucks account for about a third of all diesel emissions in Washington. Replacing these 50 buses will eliminate 68,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 70 tons over the lifetime of the vehicles.

“Big diesel engines are some of the largest sources of air pollution and greenhouse gases in our state, and investing in zero-emission alternatives is essential for improving air quality and protecting Washington communities,” said Maia Bellon, Ecology’s director.

The 50 buses supported by the federal Volkswagen settlement follow a $9.4 million investment announced in December that is helping transit agencies buy 19 electric transit buses. That funding came from Washington state’s separate $28.4 million settlement with Volkswagen for the carmaker’s violations of state law.

Both the state and federal settlements stem from the discovery that Volkswagen illegally installed software on its diesel cars that activated emission controls only when it detected the emissions were being tested. In ordinary driving, the software allowed the engines to emit as much as 40 times the legal limit for nitrogen oxides, violating the state and federal Clean Air Acts and threatening public health.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Business

Kent-based REI to lay off 400 retail employees

13,000 employees remain at 162 stores across the nation

Novinium offices in Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, Novinium
Four Kent companies receive PPP loans between $5M and $10M

Twenty others get between $2M and $5M from federal program

Business begins bouncing back at Kent Station

Many restaurants, shops open; AMC theaters remain closed

Huntington Learning Center opens Kent location

Feast & Foliage opens downtown cafe

Kent Downtown Partnership launches Kent Strong campaign

T-shirts, hoodies for sale as fundraiser for KDP

Westfield Southcenter Mall to reopen June 15

Modified hours; safety protocols

Goodwill to reopen donation centers, stores in King, Pierce counties

Including Kent, Auburn, Federal Way locations

New Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma to open June 8

$400M, 310,000-square-foot facility will open with COVID-19 precautions

Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn to reopen May 26

Face masks to be required of guests and employees

Large Kent produce warehouse part of federal food distribution program

Oregon-based Pacific Fruit Co., receives $24.8 million USDA contract

Like similar businesses across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, Bothell restaurant Hana Sushi closed due to public-health concerns. Sound Publishing file photo
Inslee changes course, says diners won’t have to sign in

Restaurants may still ask customers for information that contact tracers could use to stop an outbreak.