Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has drafted a beneficiary mitigation plan through the 2018 multi-state Volkswagen Settlement, of which Florida was allotted $166 million to improve air quality.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., notes specifically that the plan would significantly expand Florida’s electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure by increasing the number of charging stations along major thoroughfares throughout the state.
“As electric cars become more prevalent on our roads and highways, the development of these charging stations is essential to the success of our ever-evolving transportation system,” says DeSantis. “The addition of these stations will encourage Floridians to buy more electric vehicles, improve air quality, assist during disaster evacuations and ensure that Florida is prepared as electric vehicle technology continues to advance.”
According to the DEP, the primary goal of Florida’s mitigation plan is to reduce mobile sources of emissions in areas where people live, work and visit. To achieve this goal, the plan prioritizes projects that replace eligible units with electric-powered and/or alternative-fueled units; identify the areas in Florida where the largest number of people are impacted by higher levels of emissions from diesel-powered vehicles and equipment; and identify mitigation projects that achieve the lowest cost per ton of pollutants reduced.
The mitigation plan identifies the following categories of eligible mitigation actions, along with an estimated percentage breakdown for project-specific funding:
Mike Ableson, vice president of EV charging and infrastructure at General Motors, applauds the governor’s “leadership and commitment to allocate nearly $25 million to light-duty EV charging infrastructure across Florida.”
“This is a meaningful step forward in helping us realize an all-electric future as we work to achieve our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion,” Ableson says.
“I was happy to join Governor DeSantis today in celebrating another step for Florida’s clean air future,” comments Noah Valenstein, DEP secretary. “The draft Volkswagen Mitigation Plan is built on a foundation of innovation, collaboration and coordination amongst state agencies, and private and public sector partners, that will allow Florida to grow its clean air initiatives through maximizing electric vehicle charging stations and prioritizing electric and alternative fuel options for school and transit buses.”
“The Florida Department of Transportation continues to implement Governor DeSantis’ bold vision for our transportation system to increase safety, reduce congestion and embrace technology,” adds Kevin J. Thibault, secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation. “This is an exciting time for transportation technology and our comprehensive approach for electric vehicles in Florida.”
Florida’s beneficiary mitigation plan is now available for public comment.