The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a complaint against Volkswagen last year because its vehicles were emitting nitrogen oxides that significantly exceeded compliance levels and violated the Clean Air Act. The German automaker was found guilty and agreed to pay a $14.7 billion settlement and establish an Environmental Mitigation Trust. Over the next 10 years, $2.9 billion in trust funds will be allocated for environmental mitigation projects that reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. This includes $41 million for the state of Missouri.
As the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MODNR) solicits stakeholder input for the development of a Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for local funds, the Missouri Public Transit Association (MTPA) is urging them to include transit bus replacement, which is included in the eligible projects list.
The MPTA has 34 service provider members that collectively provide 62 million public transit rides a year to customers in every rural and urban county in the state. This is a big win for Missouri’s air quality considering the fact that public transit produces 95 percent less carbon monoxide, 90 percent less volatile organic compounds, and only half as much carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide per mile when compared to single occupant vehicles.
Properly powered and fueled transit buses play a significant role in continuing this success story and the mitigation solution. Outdated buses do not. The MPTA is encouraging Missourians to show their support for transit bus replacement by weighing in on MODNR’s website and attending public meetings. To learn more, visit www.dnr.mo.gov and click on Volkswagen Settlement.
Kimberly M. Cella is the executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit and of the Missouri Public Transit Association representing more than 30 transit providers across the State of Missouri.