The federal Volkswagen Partial Settlement, stemming from violations of the Clean Air Act, will create a $75.3 million pool in Ohio over ten to fifteen years for clean transportation projects. Rules allow funds to be spent as quickly as three years. This is part of a multi-billion dollar set of remedies nationally over a ten to fifteen-year period.
To help Ohio businesses, governments, school districts and others make the best use of these resources, Clean Fuels Ohio (CFO) is creating a Clearinghouse on its website to provide updated information about plans and programs developed in Ohio to fund a variety of eligible projects. These may include on and off-road diesel vehicle replacements, electric vehicle (EV) charging and potentially others. Ohio EPA is expected to administer funding. Specific plans are subject to approval by the Governor and also must be approved by the Trustee appointed by the federal court to administer the Settlement.
The Federal Trustee took an important step on October 2 with the creation of a Trust Effective Date. This means the timeline for first round awards should be the first quarter of 2018, when money will be awarded to each state’s beneficiary for emission mitigation projects that can include on and off-road diesel vehicle replacement, electric vehicle (EV) charging, and more. The Trustee also announced that states will be able to submit diesel mitigation plans sooner to receive funding more quickly.
Here is the new federal timeline:
In anticipation of this Trust Effective Date, Ohio EPA is ahead of many other states in this process. The next step for Ohio EPA is to file for official status as “beneficiary” or the administer Ohio’s $75.3 million allocation. Then, the Trustee receive must approve Ohio EPA as the beneficiary agency. After this, Ohio may submit its plan. Ohio EPA has already been working on plan development. So soon after receiving beneficiary status, they will accept public comment on their draft plan, make final changes, then file it with the Federal Trustee.
While many steps remain in the process, we estimate that Ohio EPA may be ready to launch the program by March or April 2018. Depending on how the program is structured, our best guess is that initial deadlines for funding applications could be Spring quarter of 2018. As Clean Fuels Ohio continues to monitor the progress of the VW Settlement, we will update the Ohio VW Clearinghouse accordingly to provide the latest information as it comes available.
For the past several years, CFO has provided grant-writing services either as a member benefit or as a fee-for-service. CFO anticipates offering these services for businesses and governments interested in accessing funding from Ohio programs created based on VW settlement funding. For more information about these services, or to join our Grants Opportunities Alert list, please email Megan Stein at Megan@CleanFuelsOhio.org.