Riding a bus can help cut down on your greenhouse gas footprint. But how do we prevent those buses from also contributing to emissions?

Governor Roy Cooper recently announced the state is awarding nearly $30 million to replace vehicles and install charging stations around North Carolina. The projects are funded by Volkswagen, which is paying for unlawfully reporting its own vehicle emissions. This award is the first phase of North Carolina’s $92 million share of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s settlement with the German automaker.

Phase 1 will replace 111 school buses and 16 transit buses with more energy-efficient vehicles. Part of the funding is also going to replacing heavy-duty construction vehicles, like refuse haulers and dump trucks.

Two of those vehicles set to be replaced are Class 8 Trucks used by the Orange Water and Sewer Authority in Orange County. The Town of Chapel Hill is also set to receive one electric transit bus from the deal.

An additional part of Phase 1 is building 33 zero emission vehicle charging stations, which will take up an estimated $3.4 million of the funding.

According to the governor’s office, this Phase 1 plan will reduce nearly 32 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions each year. That’s equal to the annual emissions from more than 51,000 cars.

“These awards not only put hundreds of children in safer school buses,” said Cooper in a release, “they also reduce air pollution, encourage electric vehicle use, and advance North Carolina’s transition to a cleaner economy.”

The next round of Phase 2 applicants for projects will be open soon, according to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Equality. More can be learned about that, and the Volkswagen $14.7 billion settlement with the U.S. federal government, on the department’s website.

Photo via the Town of Chapel Hill.

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