When Volkswagen (VW) admitted to cheating on its emissions standards, they also agreed to pay $14.7 billion in damages. Most of this money will be used to replace or repair vehicles with faulty emissions equipment, but there is another pot of money – over $2.7 billion – that will be distributed to states, tribes and U.S. territories. States may be tempted to invest these funds in clean diesel projects, perpetuating the use of carbon-intensive fossil fuels for at least another decade, and funding vehicle replacements that will happen anyway. Instead, the VW Settlement should be viewed as a rare and timely opportunity to accelerate the electrification of public and school transportation.
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