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AUSTIN -- In a plan released yesterday, the Governor’s Office and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) proposed spending the $209 million dollars the state of Texas received from the Volkswagen, “Dieselgate,” scandal on “fuel-neutral” buses, trucks, and other vehicles, while opting in to the full 15% made available for electric vehicle infrastructure.
The plan states that money will be determined on a “first come, first serve” basis.
As a secondary measure, TCEQ cites cost-effectiveness as a key determinant in what it calls the “competitive process,” to receive funding for a project. A corresponding table shows that trucks, which are predominantly supplied by natural gas options, are by far the most cost-effective-- roughly 10 times more so than school buses.
“The plan today is a concerning, at best. While we are happy to see the full 15% spent on electric infrastructure, the lack of clear guidelines for the competitive process and the decision not to use the EPA calculator leads to problematic uncertainty on whether communities or gas corporations will benefit,” said Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG State Director.
“Despite the many benefits of electric buses, especially school buses, the current plan claims to remain ‘fuel neutral,’ while simultaneously making the money largely available to natural gas companies,” Scoggin continued. “I question how they will support communities by using the cheapest, least-effective option for our money.”
Throughout the process, TexPIRG urged TCEQ to spend the maximum-allowable 15 percent of the funds on electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the other 85 percent on replacing diesel buses with zero-emissions all-electric buses and school buses
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