A competitor weaves his school bus through one of the obstacles in the school bus Road-E-O competition on June 21, 2017.

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday it was awarding $7.3 million from a 2016 Volkswagen settlement to emissions-saving transportation projects around the state.

Most of the money, $5.4 million, will go to a dozen public school districts and one private school for lower-emitting diesel buses, electric school buses and charging stations. Specifically, that money will help pay for 42 lower-emitting diesel buses, 12 electric buses, and 10 charging stations.

The Jackson County School District is getting the largest award amount, $1.5 million, for six electric buses and six charging stations.

In total, Mississippi received $9.87 million out of the $2.7 billion Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust, a fund established through legal settlements after the Environmental Protection Agency found that the car manufacturer had intentionally programmed their vehicles to cheat emissions tests. The purpose of the money is to offset excess emissions of nitrogen oxides from Volkswagen’s cars.

“The goal of the mitigation projects is the reduction of diesel emissions, specifically nitrogen oxide pollutants, which have been linked to increased ozone levels and air contaminants,” said Chris Wells, MDEQ Executive Director. 

All 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are beneficiaries of the fund. States were allocated money largely based on how many affected Volkswagen cars were registered in each state, according to the EPA.

About half of the remaining $2 million is going to three companies: Waste Management, Sysco in Jackson, and Pan Isle Inc., also known as Ship Island Excursions. Waste Management is receiving $570,000 to replace 13 diesel garbage trucks with clean natural gas vehicles.

The Meridian Airport Authority is receiving $430,435 for new electric ground support devices.

Another $330,00 is going to build 18 charging stations in seven locations around the state.

The money MDEQ awarded Thursday is in the form of a rebate, and can account for up to 70% of the project’s cost. To access the funds, the recipients must complete the projects by September, 2025, and then request reimbursements.

Use the table below for a full list of projects MDEQ awarded money to on Thursday:


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Alex Rozier, from New York City, is Mississippi Today’s data and environment reporter. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Open Secrets, and on NBC.com. In 2019, Alex was a grantee through the Pulitzer Center’s Connected Coastlines program, which supported his coverage around the impact of climate change on Mississippi fisheries.