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WA Department of Ecology funds $16.3M in grants for zero-emission vehicles

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(The Center Square) – The Washington State Department of Ecology recently announced $16.3 million in funding for local tribes, ports and other municipalities to move their vehicle fleets further toward Washington’s zero-emission goals.

The funding will come in the form of grants, and Ecology lists “switching out vehicles and diesel equipment [to] help air quality and the climate” as the stated goal of the funds.

“We’re delighted to offer these grants and encourage applicants to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Molly Spiller, manager of Ecology’s Volkswagen Settlement grant program.

Grant funds orginated from the Volkswagen emissions settlement.

“Cities, counties, public utilities, school districts, universities – really, any public or tribal entity in Washington that owns eligible diesel equipment or vehicles – can use these funds to support their local communities and help accelerate the transition to a clean transportation future,” added Spiller.

Monies can be used for replacement of aging diesel street sweepers, refuse vehicles, freight switcher locomotives, cargo-handling equipment and forklifts with new zero-emissions models.

Per the Revised Code of Washington 70A.30.010, Washingotn has adopted California’s zero-emission vehicle standards.

Zero emission refers to an engine, motor, process or other energy source that emits no waste products that pollute the environment or disrupt the climate.

“For these grants, diesel refuse vehicles, street sweepers, and freight switchers may be replaced or repowered with electric or hydrogen models,” said Ecology Communications Manager Susan Woodward in an email to The Center Square when asked for clarification on vehicle eligibility criteria. “Replacements of port cargo handling equipment and forklifts must be electric. In all cases, hybrid replacements are not eligible.”

More information on vehicle eligibility can be found in the grant guideline document accompanying the announcement.

Grants can also be used for charging and refueling infrastructure that qualifies under the emissions standards.

The department lists two sets of applicants that will receive priority: those in “communities disproportionately impacted by air pollution,” and “applicants with older and higher-consumption diesel equipment and vehicles.”

Grant applications are open from Wednesday through Oct. 26

More information on the grant application process can be found on the Department of Ecology’s website.

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