Ron DeSantis: Florida Will Use Volkswagen Settlement Funds on School Buses, Public Transportation

On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis showcased efforts in Florida to make public transportation more environmentally friendly.

Florida received more than $166 million to improve air quality as part of the Beneficiary Mitigation Plan funded by the national Volkswagen Settlement. The state government plans to use the funds to expand the number of electric vehicles used in public transportation across the state and to reduce the number of diesel-powered vehicles.

“Coordination amongst state agencies and private and public sector partners will be critical to the success of meeting the objectives of the state’s recently submitted Beneficiary Mitigation Plan. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has published three Requests for Information (RFIs) for the three project types outlined in the plan,” the governor’s office noted.

“My administration is committed to making smart investments to help improve our state’s air quality long-term,” said DeSantis. “This funding will allow us to focus on projects that will reduce harmful emissions, help modernize school and transit bus fleets, and provide access to charging stations in our state as electric vehicle usage continues to increase.”

According to the governor’s office, the vast majority of the funds–70 percent of them–will go to school, transit and shuttle buses with 15 percent going to charging states and another 15 percent on Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) options.

“The Department has worked diligently to develop a plan that meets the needs of our state, the priorities of Governor DeSantis and public comments that were received during the draft plan development process,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “We look forward to working with local governments and other partners to expand Florida’s electric vehicle infrastructure.”

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