City of Salisbury wins $800,000 grant as part of Volkswagen settlement

City of Salisbury wins $800,000 grant as part of Volkswagen settlement
The funds are part of the Volkswagen "dieselgate" settlement. (Source: City of Salisbury)

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - Salisbury Transit was awarded an $818,771 Volkswagen Settlement Transit/Shuttle Bus Program Grant by the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ).

“This grant allows our municipal transit system to replace two heavy-duty, diesel buses that have exceeded the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) useful service life with two all-electric, light duty transit buses,” said Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander. “In addition to the actual vehicle purchases, funding includes charging stations, camera systems, fare boxes, destination signs, bike racks and two-way radios. This grant award also advances the City of Salisbury’s overall commitment to reduce our carbon footprint throughout all our departments.”

“We are grateful to the NCDEQ for recognizing our grant application requesting more fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicles for our transit customers,” said Rodney Harrison, Salisbury Transit director. “This award will allow us to continue to serve our residents while reducing our carbon footprint, and improving efficiency for our current ridership. Slightly smaller buses also will improve safety when traveling in communities off the main thoroughfares.”

According to Salisbury Transit’s grant application, “Transitioning diesel buses to all electric buses will fulfill the North Carolina’s Beneficiary Mitigation Plan commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollutants. Using clean transportation and renewable energy through advanced technology solutions will significantly lower noise emissions when compared to diesel buses using internal combustion engines.”

In July 2016, Volkswagen agreed to a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency as a result of the illegal installation of ‘defeat devices’ on VW diesel engines in violation of the Clean Air Act. One component of that settlement is a $2.7 billion dollar Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement (EMT) that offers emissions reduction opportunities for states.

Salisbury Transit operates three fixed routes, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complimentary Paratransit services in Salisbury, Spencer and East Spencer. The system also operates in and supports public transportation service in eight qualified opportunity zones located in the area. The electric buses will perform the same function and operation as the FTA-funded buses being replaced.

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