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Make VW Pay
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says Volkswagen designed some 567,000 "clean" diesel cars to violate the law. They built elaborate software, called a "defeat device," to turn on emissions controls during testing and turn them off during regular driving. By cheating the law, VW ripped off hundreds of thousands of consumers who thought they were buying clean vehicles. They put our health at risk, emitting as much as 40 times the legal limit of smog-forming pollutants.
Yet, their deceit and the subsequent settlement now represents a historic opportunity to drastically reduce the harmful pollution that makes us sick and accelerates climate change by providing an essential down payment toward the transition to a clean and modern 21st century transportation system.
According to the terms of the VW settlement, agreed to by VW and the Department of Justice, VW will pay a total of $14.7 billion in damages for their role in violating federal clean air laws.
- Drastically reducing NOx, ground-level ozone (smog), and particulate matter;
- Significantly reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions;
- Reducing long-term fuel consumption, maintenance, and operation costs of public fleet vehicles;
- Adding needed stability to the price of energy inputs for vehicles;
- Increasing public awareness and adoption of electric vehicles as cleaner alternatives to traditional gas-powered vehicles.
Highway Boondoggles 5 finds nine new budget-eating highway projects slated to cost a total of $25 billion that will harm communities and the environment, while likely failing to achieve meaningful transportation goals
In Miami, highways slice through almost every section of the city, separating neighborhoods and creating sprawl that threatens the surrounding environment. According to a new report from U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group, Miami is undertaking a five-year, nearly billion-dollar project to rebuild and add capacity to large sections of I-395 and SR-836 in Overtown, which would exacerbate the problems with urban sprawl and an over dependence on cars.
For all of us who rely on our roads and public transit, and our water, sewage and power systems, the agreement reached by President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders in May to commit $2 trillion to infrastructure should be good news.
When it comes to clean transportation, most U.S. states are underutilizing funds from Volkswagen’s nearly $3 billion settlement with federal authorities for violating emissions standards.
Every state, with the exception of Florida, has now published its plan to spend the money being received as part of the Volkswagen emissions violations settlement. This scorecard grades each state’s plan on how well it is designed to take full advantage of the opportunity to invest in transportation electrification.
Transportation | U.S. PIRG
Volkswagen was caught cheating emissions laws and settled with federal authorities. The settlement included nearly $3 billion for the Environmental Mitigation Trust. How well does our state rank on plans for investing VW mitigation trust funds in clean transportation projects?
Tools & Resources
Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s FutureFlorida PIRG Education Fund
Seeking Compensation for Consumers and Environment
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