The city of Racine will receive $6.19 million of the $32 million in grants to municipalities from the Volkswagen Capital Assistance Grant Program that they will use to buy at least six new electric buses. This will allow Racine to replace some of its most aged bus fleet, advance its commitment to the greenhouse gas emissions target in the Paris Accord (Mayor Mason is a Climate Mayor signatory), and to develop into a Smart City. In addition, Racine received a grant from the PSC Energy Innovation Grant to develop a Comprehensive Energy Independent Community Plan in 2019. Fleet electrification, which will be a major component of the plan, will be able to begin in 2020 with these funds.
Racine was awarded the second highest allotment (after Appleton of 8 cities and Milwaukee County) of the $67.1 million total mitigation settlement to Wisconsin from Volkswagen’s violations of the Federal Clean Air Act. Other intended grant recipients include: Appleton, Milwaukee County, Madison, City of Eau Claire, Green Bay, Janesville, Wausau, Sheboygan and City of La Crosse. Preference was given to communities where public transit is critical to get employees to work. In total, 58 buses will be replaced although, other than Racine and Eau Claire that is purchasing 3 hybrid EVs, municipalities will be replacing aging buses with new diesel buses. The old buses are required to be scrapped so they are no longer operable and able to emit air pollutants. For more information: Journaltimes, WI DOA