California is investing over $1 billion in infrastructure for electric vehicles in the coming weeks, spending a mixture of taxpayer and Volkswagen (VW) “Dieselgate” funds.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved the single-largest investment in vehicle-charging infrastructure Thursday, voting unanimously to put $738 million in state funds toward the effort, Bloomberg reported.
The state investment is in addition to $300 million from VW’s settlement fund created after the car manufacturer was caught cheating U.S. emissions standards. The California Air Resources Board approved using money from the National VW Environmental Trust on May 25 to cover the cost of zero emission transit, freight and port projects.
VW settled with the federal government after being charged for violating the Clean Air Act. The company installed diesel motor “defeat devices” on roughly 590,000 vehicles between 2008 and 2015. The devices regulated the vehicles’ emissions during testing, making them appear more efficient.
Environmentalists applauded California’s spending spree on electric vehicle infrastructure.
“California just solidified its position as the spark of our country’s electric vehicle revolution,” Sierra Club Senior Campaign Representative Carlo De La Cruz said in a statement. “As the largest car market in the United States we just made the single largest investment in electric vehicles and zero emission technology in the nation.”
The investments fall in line with California’s goal, passed into law in 2015, of achieving a 40-percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030. (RELATED: California Will Force EVERY New Home Owner To Install Solar Panels)
California is one of the most determined states to pursue renewable energy development through government-funded programs and carbon emission regulations. The California Energy Commission voted on May 5 to adopt rules mandating rooftop solar panels be installed on new homes and low-rise apartment buildings up to three stories high within the state.
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