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  • Writer's pictureTalia Hill

Capital Metro gets $3.5M from Volkswagen settlement to buy electric buses

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority will soon field more electric buses — thanks to the billions of dollars Volkswagen is paying to settle its high-profile emissions scandal.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality this month awarded 11 contracts to fund new, lower-emission buses across the state, including nearly $3.5 million to Capital Metro. The Austin public transit agency plans to use the money to replace part of its current diesel fleet with new, cleaner buses.

Capital Metro also awarded $2.2 million in contracts to the Eanes, Liberty Hill and Thorndale school districts to replace aging, higher-emission buses with newer models.

"[A] transition to a clean, quiet and fully electric fleet is a major component of Project Connect, Capital Metro's long-term vision for reliable and frequent regional transit," according to a Capital Metro announcement.

Volkswagen's emissions scandal that erupted earlier this decade resulted in the company agreeing to pay billions of dollars to government agencies. That included $2.9 billion for an environmental trust fund to help pay for transportation projects to reduce emissions, which all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are now cashing in on.

The $14.6 million in contracts recently awarded by TCEQ represent the first of multiple grant rounds to spend the $209 million that's been awarded to Texas as a result of the Volkswagen settlement. Entities in the San Antonio, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth and Waco areas also

received some of the $14.6 million.

Separately, Capital Metro received $2.6 million for battery electric buses to expand its fleet through a July 26 grant announcement from the the Federal Transit Administration.

By Daniel Salazar

Austin Business Journal

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