RI Gov. Proposes Electric Buses For RIPTA With Volkswagen Settlement

May 10, 2018

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo wants to spend $10 million to add emission-free buses to the state's public transit authority. 

The proposal, called the Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, would be funded by the federal Volkswagen settlement, payments that were made to settle complaints that the company's engineers installed illegal software in 2015  inside diesel-engine cars to make it appear as if the cars were emitting less nitrogen oxide than they actually were. 

Settlement funds were distributed to every state depending on the number of affected vehicles that were sold. In Rhode Island, there were about 3,000, according to the state's Department of Environmental Management. 

Rhode Island is proposing to use its money to replace about 20 retiring diesel buses with new, all-electric vehicles starting in 2021.

The state already has 73 hybrid buses on the road, so the all-electric additions would mean low and zero-emission buses would make up 36 percent of the state's public transit fleet.

The state is also proposing to use an additional $1.5 million from the settlement to install 15-30 charging stations for electric cars in 2020.

An information session on the plan will be held next Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Rhode Island College. 

Public comment can also be submitted via email to Allison.Callahan@dem.ri.gov until June 11. 

Copies of the Beneficiary Mitigation Plan are available at DEM's Office of Air Resources in Providence.