For those of you who may not remember, in 2015 auto giant Volkswagen AG was found guilty of intentionally installing sensors to “cheat” or “pass” the Clean Air Act emissions tests. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports, complicit companies had to pay settlement monies out of over 10 billion dollars. Those dollars went in two directions, the first went to pay to remove all of the non-compliant from the road and the second went to produce green alternatives.
Over the past month, Pennsylvania and companies within Pennsylvania have begun to receive and be awarded some of the Volkswagen settlement dollars. In an article published yesterday in Transportation Today News, “Under funds from the Volkswagen settlement, Pennsylvania will put an extra $8,489,844 into the Driving PA Forward grants and rebates program, which seeks to reduce diesel engine emissions. The funds are Pennsylvania’s portion of a settlement with Volkswagen Group of America, which was found to have cheated U.S. EPA emissions tests. Now, that money will be turned around and put toward 34 cleaner energy transportation projects, meant to collectively prevent the emission of hundreds of tons of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, fine particulate matter, and coarse particulate matter.” This influx of capital has also been applied to other groups within the region including, Sysco Leasing LLC, Delaware Regional Planning Commission, the City of Philadelphia, The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and Allegheny County.
Local private companies have also benefited from these newly available funds. Argo AI the autonomous vehicle company located in downtown Pittsburgh, was recently awarded funds from both Ford and Volkswagen to develop emissions friendly autonomous vehicles. Argo AI has received a $1 billion package from Ford and a $2.6 billion package from Volkswagen. It is clear to see that these penalties are serving as seed capital for advancement in the automotive industry and their affects are yet to be felt on a global scales.