- The Commonwealth of Virginia announced it will invest $14 million in the deployment of electric buses throughout the state.
- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) will provide the funding to transit agencies and/or municipalities through a new Clean Transportation Voucher Program intended to replace medium- and heavy-duty vehicles with cleaner ones.
- The funding is 15% of what the state received from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust settlement.
Many cities include, or would like to include, electric vehicle (EV) adoption in their environmental plans, especially transitioning municipal and transit fleets to EVs. However, cost is the leading barrier preventing municipalities from making that transition. A recently released report indicates that electric transit buses are 40% more expensive than diesel versions, making the up-front price a challenge. However, the same report says that switching to electric buses provides cost savings in the long run.
The report also offered ideas for cities to fund electric bus purchases, including municipal bonds, local option transportation taxes and incentive programs. The $14 million funding infusion from the state of Virginia is an example of another option: federal or state grants.
"Not only does this program help ensure transit projects can provide the safe and reliable services our citizens deserve,” Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine said in a statement, “but it also makes public transit in Virginia environmentally sustainable and cost-effective for years to come."