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Volkswagen Settlement

The State of Rhode Island is reaching out to inform the public of the recent Volkswagen (VW) Settlement. In two related settlements, German automaker Volkswagen AG (VW) has agreed to spend up to $14.73 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers. The automaker will spend up to $10.03 billion to compensate consumers under the program, and will spend $4.7 billion to mitigate the pollution from these cars and invest in clean vehicle technology.

VW Zero Emission Vehicle Investment Commitment and Outreach Plan:

Of that $4.7 billion in settlement funds, $1.2 billion were set aside for investment in Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) projects nationally over a ten (10) year period. Eligible ZEV investments will include: the design, planning, construction, installation, operation and maintenance of ZEV infrastructure; the development of brand-neutral education and public outreach campaigns; and programs to increase public exposure or access to ZEVs.

The State of Rhode Island intends to work with its public and private partners to identify potential eligible projects to be included in what is anticipated to be a required submission by the State of Rhode Island to the appropriate designated party yet to be determined for potential ZEV Investment Plan funds. Future public meetings may be scheduled and will be posted on this site once finalized. Organizations and/or individuals with thoughts and ideas concerning ZEV funds should use the "Submit an idea" function via this Google Form to forward that advice and provide their contact information in order to ensure that they receive all future communications.

VW Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund:

Over the next ten (10) years, the State of Rhode Island will receive nearly $13.5 million dollars in settlement funds for projects that reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in areas of the state significantly affected by diesel emissions. The State of Rhode Island will be required to develop and submit a mitigation plan to the settlement Trustee that will summarize how the state plans to use the mitigation funds. Eligible mitigation actions include replacing or repowering eligible large trucks, buses, freight switchers, ferries/tugs, medium trucks and other vehicles with new diesel or alternative fuel engines, or all-electric engines. Beneficiaries may also use up to 15 percent of their allocation of trust funds on acquiring, installing, operating and maintaining new light duty zero emission vehicle supply equipment.

Availability of funds from the Volkswagen Consent Decree is not guaranteed and depends on acceptance by and approval of the use of the funds by the Governor. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is outlining the process for the development of Rhode Island’s mitigation plan. In the interim, organizations and/or individuals with thoughts and ideas concerning Environmental Mitigation Trust funds can submit those ideas via e-mail to Allison Callahan at with the subject line "VW Environmental Mitigation Trust - Comment".

Next Steps:


Anticipated Timeline:

  • October 25, 2016 - Consent Decree approved by the court
  • November 24, 2016 - Deadline for submission of Trustee candidates
  • January 2017 - Establishment of Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund
  • March 2017 - Governmental entities file Certification Forms (for Beneficiary status)
  • May 2017 - Trustee approves/denies Beneficiary status
  • June/July 2017 - Beneficiary to submit the mitigation plan