The 2014 Volkswagen Beetle TDI shown here is among the models covered by landmark settlements reached between state and federal regulators and Volkswagen. (Volkswagen/MCT)

Georgia’s VW settlement money will be spent on new public transit buses

Georgia’s government plans to spend its $63.6 million share of a national Volkswagen emission cheating settlement on fuel-efficient buses in metro Atlanta and at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

That’s according to a proposal submitted Tuesday by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget for the state’s portion of $2.7 billion set aside for environmental mitigation projects that reduce diesel emissions.

Part of the $63.6 million would fund new diesel and all-electric buses operated by the state’s Xpress transit system, which operates in 12 metro Atlanta counties and has a fleet of 165 buses.

In addition, the settlement would pay for electric terminal-to-terminal buses at Hartsfield-Jackson.

Volkswagen settled several lawsuits over the last few years to resolve allegations that the company equipped its vehicles with devices to circumvent emissions tests.

In all, the value of the settlements exceeds $20 billion, including funding to buy back diesel vehicles, retrofit polluting cars and pay car owners cash compensation of $5,100 to $10,000, depending on the model and year of their vehicles.

The settlement covers more than 17,000 vehicles in Georgia, many of them registered in metro Atlanta counties.

“The Atlanta Metropolitan Area bore a disproportionate share of the increased air pollution burden as a result of the defeat devices,” according to the state’s plan. “This is one of the reasons why the Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for the State of Georgia focuses on reducing emissions from diesel engines in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area.”

Volkswagen admitted to fraud and obstruction of justice after putting defeat devices in its diesel vehicles.

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