by Mass Transit
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) awarded $18 million to the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) as part of the government’s settlement with Volkswagen (VW) over claims the company violated the Clean Air Act.
The money given to PSTA is the second largest amount given to a transit agency in Florida and will be used to purchase electric buses.
“We appreciate that the Department of Environmental Protection has recognized PSTA as a leader in sustainability and that the state is investing in our efforts to get more all-electric buses on the road as soon as possible,’’ said PSTA CEO Brad Miller. “We are committed to clean energy, and electric buses also cost less to run and are easier to maintain. Within the next decade, we hope to eliminate all diesel buses from our fleet.’’
Currently, PSTA operates six all-electric buses and 88 hybrid buses, which represent more than half of the bus fleet. PSTA will use these funds to purchase 60 Gillig all-electric buses over the next five years, which was approved by the board of directors in December 2021.
“I thank DEP for contributing to our efforts to move toward an all-electric fleet as soon as possible,’’ added PSTA Board Chair and Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard. “This money will help us achieve our goal faster, and it reaffirms PSTA is on the right path with its unwavering commitment to clean energy and sustainability.’’
In 2017, VW settled with the U.S. government, resolving claims that it violated the Clean Air Act by selling diesel vehicles that violated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mobile source emission standards. Florida received a total of $166 million as part of the settlement.
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