Department of Public Health and Environment solicits comments from the public on Colorado’s proposed spending plan for the Volkswagen settlement

Jeremy Neustifter, Public Information | 303-692-6302 |
The state of Colorado expects to receive $68.7 million in settlement funds following resolution of the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Volkswagen Group of America and certain related entities admitted they violated the federal Clean Air Act by selling vehicles with 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter diesel engines that emitted more air pollution than the federal Clean Air Act allows and by cheating on federal emission tests to hide the excess pollution.
To mitigate the environmental damages from violating the federal Clean Air Act, the settlement requires Volkswagen to place $2.9 billion in an independently administered environmental trust. The trust will fund projects across the country to mitigate the diesel emissions caused by the offending Volkswagen vehicles. Depending on when the trust is filed with the court, Colorado anticipates it will begin to receive funds in 2018.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will be designated as the state’s lead agency to implement the trust. CDPHE partnered with the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado Energy Office, and the Regional Air Quality Council to develop a spending plan. When the state receives funds from the trust, these agencies will work together to distribute the funds to public and private fleets to incentivize emission reduction projects.
CDPHE and its partner agencies conducted public outreach in fall 2016 regarding how the trust funds should be used. The agencies gave approximately 15 presentations about the trust, conducted media interviews, directly contacted more than 450 stakeholders and received approximately 120 comments regarding how to spend the funds. Based on initial public comments and legal requirements, CDPHE and its partner agencies drafted a spending plan, formally known as a Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, describing how Colorado proposes to distribute the funds. CDPHE is now publishing the Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for additional public comments.
The terms of the trust require the funds to be spent on certain eligible categories of projects. To maximize air quality benefits, Colorado proposes to distribute the funds as follows:
  • $18 million to replace medium- and heavy-duty diesel trucks, school buses and shuttle buses with alternate fuel or electric vehicles. Small businesses with fleets of fewer than nine vehicles could receive incentives to replace old diesel vehicles with new diesels.
  • $18 million to replace diesel transit buses with alternate fuel or electric buses.
  • $10.3 million to install charging stations or fueling stations for zero-emission passenger cars and trucks.
  • $5 million to reduce emissions from non-road diesel engines or diesel equipment.
  • $12.2 million held by Colorado in a flexible fund that would be allocated to eligible projects based on demand.
Access additional details in the proposed Beneficiary Mitigation Plan.
The department will hold a meeting for public comment regarding the proposed plan Sept. 18, 2-5 p.m. at the CDOT headquarters building, 4201 E. Arkansas Ave., Denver. Comments will be accepted during the public meeting and in writing until Oct. 13. Written comments may be submitted to or by mail or hand delivery to:
CDPHE Air Pollution Control Division
ATTN: Christine Hoefler
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246
Oral comments will be recorded during the public meeting. All oral and written comments will be posted on the department’s website along with a summary of the comments received. CDPHE and its partner agencies will consider all timely comments and make any appropriate revisions to finalize the Beneficiary Mitigation Plan. The final Beneficiary Mitigation Plan will be posted on CDPHE’s website and submitted to the trustee.