The state of Iowa will receive a multi-million dollar windfall as part of a $15 billion settlement with German carmaker Volkswagen over its emissions cheating scandal.
Iowa’s $21 million share must be spent on projects to reduce toxic emissions into the Iowa environment.
A federal judge approved the settlement between Volkswagen and state and federal governments last year.
The carmaker sold nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles with model years 2009 to 2016 equipped with so-called defeat devices to get around emissions standards.
“The settlement is based on the proportion of vehicles that were sold in any given state,” said acting Iowa Department of Transportation Director Mark Lowe.
The settlement was designed to compensate car owners while also cleaning up air polluted by the cheating.
The Iowa DOT will be taking suggestions from the public on projects to repower or replace older diesel engines to reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides.
Those might include heavy duty diesel sources such as freight trucks, school and transit buses, and freight switcher locomotives.
They may also include funding for charging stations for zero emission passenger vehicles.
Governor Branstad said he doesn’t know if so-called blending stations to enhance the use of high-ethanol blends might be allowed.
“I have raised questions with the EPA and Volkswagen about that,” said Branstad.
The DOT will be taking suggestions for projects from the public until April 14th at www.iowadot.gov/vwsettlement.
“We are asking Iowans for their input on the types of projects they believe will achieve the greatest long-term impact,” said Branstad.
“This funding has the potential to significantly and positively impact air quality in Iowa,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Iowa’s mitigation plan will be submitted to the VW settlement trustee.