Today, Governor Ron DeSantis celebrated another step in the state’s efforts to modernize public transit and reduce air pollutants caused by diesel emissions.
Through the Volkswagen settlement, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is awarding more than $68 million that will secure 227 electric transit buses in 13 counties statewide that will replace existing diesel transit buses in Alachua, Broward, Duval, Escambia, Hillsborough, Leon, Marion, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, and Pinellas counties.
“This funding will help lower emissions while also bringing our transit bus fleets to more modern standards,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “This is a win-win for air quality and advancing the state’s efforts to bolster growing electric vehicle usage.”
In addition to today’s announced electric transit bus grant awards, DEP has also awarded grants to seven school districts to purchase a total of 218 electric school buses in Broward, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties.
Introducing electric buses is an important and effective way to reduce harmful emissions, especially in highly populated areas where mobile sources are the largest sources of air pollution. As more and more electric vehicles are deployed, emissions of air pollutants will be reduced, which will continue to improve Florida’s air quality.
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“Florida continues to be a national leader in air quality and is proud to be the most populous state in the nation to have met all of EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards,” said DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “Through collaboration with partner agencies and the private sector, we are able to implement projects to protect air quality and support the needs of our communities.”
These projects and others are a result of DEP’s Florida Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, which was created to outline how the state would spend its allotted $166 million from the Volkswagen settlement. The plan focused on constructing new electric vehicle charging stations, procuring electric buses for select school districts and transit agencies, and providing funding for Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) projects.
Through Florida’s settlement allotment, DEP has awarded grants to install 150 electric vehicle charging stations along the state highway system and several DERA grants to reduce emissions in and around the state’s ports. These projects include marine engine replacements, an electric freight switch, and port cargo handling equipment.