Eau Claire (WQOW)- A nationwide emissions scandal, will benefit Eau Claire Transit.
Two years ago, news broke of Volkswagen cheating on emission tests.
The car company recently settled after breaking the Clean Air Act, for $2.9 billion. That money is being split between states, Wisconsin is getting $67 million over the next decade to offset pollution.
Of that, $32 million will be used for new buses in Appleton, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Janesville, La Crosse, Madison, Racine, Sheboygan and Wausau, along with Milwaukee County.
Almost all of the 58 buses will be powered by diesel engines, which generate about twice the climate-warming emissions of electric-powered buses. Only Racine plans to buy electric buses.
Environmental advocates say it’s a missed opportunity to invest in electric vehicles.
Eau Claire will use $1.1 million to buy three new hybrid buses.
Eau Claire Transit Manager Thomas Wagener said they’re happy to get three buses, but were really hoping to get five.
“We have 22 buses in our fleet, and 14 of those buses are considered to be beyond their useful life and so that’s what we’ve been looking to replace,” Wagener said.
Wagener said they have five buses on order already, and have funding for seven more buses, which includes the three they received funding for by the Volkswagen settlement.
Don’t look for the buses just yet, Wagener said it will still be about 16 months before the buses are actually on the road.