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FAQ

When do you anticipate a draft plan being available for comment?

Timing for completion of the draft Mitigation Plan is dependent on the volume and type of input received; however, we are hopeful to have a viable draft in the third or fourth quarter of 2018. A public hearing will be held before submission.

When will you be accepting applications for projects?

The State’s Mitigation Plan must be submitted and approved prior to funding. Once this has been completed, we will request proposals for projects dependent upon the mitigation actions selected for the plan.

What are the documentation requirements for funding specific projects?

Beneficiaries may submit requests for Eligible Mitigation Action funding at any time, except for the first funding request which must be at least 30 days after the mitigation plan is submitted, by filing with the Trustee a Beneficiary Eligible Mitigation Action Certification form (Appendix D-4), containing each of the certifications required by the Trust Agreement. Due to these requirements, ADECA will need to rate and score proposals to ensure each of these certifications are met prior to funding individual projects. Awardees will be required to provide all applicable certifications or reporting requirements to ADECA.
(Trust Agreement, Paragraph 5.2)

Will there be an attempt or requirement to distribute the State’s funds evenly across the various categories of mitigation actions?

Distribution of the funds will be determined after evaluation of public input and other relevant considerations.

What is the anticipated timeline for developing the plan and when the requests for proposals will begin?

Plan development is currently in process. There are no hard dates for when the plan will be completed and applications accepted. Please check the timeline on the website for updates as we move through the process..

Can the funds be applied retroactively?

No.

Can replacement of a truck include the equipment that is mounted on it, for example garbage beds?

The consent decree does not directly address this.  A determination will be made prior to release of the request for applications.  Our current thinking on the matter is that anything permanently attached to the vehicle when purchased would be eligible but after-market equipment would not.

Is there a percentage or dollar amount already assigned or estimated for specific “Eligible Mitigation Actions”?

No, distribution of the funds will be determined after evaluation of public input and other considerations.

Is the Public Information and Listening Session presentation available for download via the Internet?

The presentation will be posted and available for download on the website after the completion of all Public Information and Listening Sessions. The last session is scheduled for April 3.

Concerning Class 4-8 School Bus, Shuttle Bus, or Transit Buses: Can the language of “any new diesel” be removed, leaving only alternative fueled engines and all-electric engines?

No, the referenced language is quoted directly from the consent decree.  We do not have the authority to make changes to these requirements.

Can vehicles be donated for training use by community colleges instead of being scrapped?

No, the consent decree requires that all replaced vehicles be scrapped.

Can community colleges use these funds to replace existing med/heavy duty trucks in college driver programs?

If the replacement of medium/heavy duty vehicles is chosen as an eligible mitigation action in the Alabama Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, the applicant would need to provide information on estimated hours in service and potential NOx reductions to be considered for funding.

Can these funds be used to purchase trucks and increase the number of CDL driver training programs at community colleges?

New trucks can only be purchased as a replacement for existing trucks with the requirement that the old trucks must be scrapped. Funds cannot be used to expand fleets.

Explain further if infrastructure costs would be funded if a school district wanted to replace diesel buses with propane buses.

No, the only infrastructure costs eligible for funding with mitigation funds are those for all-electric vehicle charging and hydrogen dispensing equipment for light duty hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

What will be the time frame from when the application is accepted, evaluated, and approved…will it be a set number of days?

These time frames have not yet been determined, but ample time will be given for application preparation.  The time-period for evaluation of applications will be dependent on the volume of applications received; however, efforts will be made to complete the process in as timely a manner as possible.

Will the settlement funds be equally distributed geographically, by the area with the most severe emissions problems, or by other criteria?

Distribution of funds will be determined after evaluating public input and other relevant considerations.  It is unlikely that funds will be equally distributed geographically due to required considerations such as impact on areas bearing a disproportionate share of air pollution.

The health of children/students and the adult elderly were mentioned in regard to improving air quality for “vulnerable populations.” How do we intend to educate students and those affected by high traffic areas or pollution?

Parameters for expenditure of settlement funds do not include an education component; however, this is something that we at ADECA can explore as a potential future project utilizing other resources.

Will it be a while before funds are available?

States may request up to 1/3 of their allocation during the first year of the settlement and up to 2/3 of the allocation during the first two years. We are currently in the first year. Although we do not yet have a firm timeframe for the application and award process here in Alabama, it is anticipated that the first awards will likely be made fourth quarter of 2018 or first quarter 2019.

Do we have any non-attainment areas in Alabama?

The only current air quality non-attainment area in Alabama is Troy (for lead). There are no non-attainment areas in the state for NOx. A GIS based emissions map for Alabama can be found here.

What is the estimated cost to repower a school bus?

The cost to repower a school bus depends on the type and size of the bus and the repower option chosen.

Can co-funding amounts be adjusted over time?

Yes. The consent decree allows states to revise mitigation plans at any time by providing plan updates to the Trustee.

Could “local” mean simply intrastate and not interstate? For example, if a truck operates within the state, it is considered local and eligible for funds.

That is one possible definition for “local.” The term “local” will be defined in our planning process. We are asking for public input, so please submit your suggestion in our online survey.

Must technology directly reduce emission or can it be supporting technology (e.g. measuring emissions in high concern areas)?

Technology employed must directly reduce emissions.  Eligible mitigation actions are limited to those specifically listed in the consent decree.

At this juncture, what is ADECA’s appetite for implementing infrastructure to support zero emission vehicles using these funds?

At this point, ADECA is interested in allocating up to the allowable 15% of funds for zero emission vehicle supply equipment. However, we would like to hear the public’s opinion on this possibility. The final decision on eligible mitigation actions will be made after a careful evaluation of public input and other relevant considerations.

Has it been considered to use a portion of funds to match FTA funds to purchase alternative fuel public transit vehicles for rural and small urban areas?

All possibilities that fit in the eligible mitigation actions categories outlined in the consent decree are being considered. We are very interested in opportunities to leverage other funding sources.

What is the approximate timeframe applications are expected?

There are currently no hard dates for when the plan will be completed and applications accepted. Public comments are being accepted through May 9. Public input evaluation and plan development will begin immediately afterward.  Please check the timeline on the website for updates as we move through the process.

Are funds available for infrastructure (e.g. fuel pumps, islands)?

Eligible mitigation actions include support for all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure only.

Are transit vehicles after 2009 eligible for repower or replacement?

No. Vehicles made after 2009 employ more effective emissions controls, so replacement of these newer vehicles would not produce the desired reductions in emissions.

What is the exact timeline you are trying to meet for approval of your final plan? What is the timeline for process after the final plan?

There are currently no hard dates for when the final plan will be completed.  Public comments are being accepted through May 9. Public input evaluation and plan development will begin immediately afterward. Our unofficial goal is to have a final plan in place by the third or fourth quarter of 2018.

Do the vehicles being replaced have to be currently in use?

This requirement is not specifically stated in the consent decree. However, the state has the discretion to place restrictions such as this in considering eligible measures for the application process. It is likely that we will adopt this restriction, because if a vehicle is not being used, there would be no emissions reductions if replaced or repowered.

How will “bang for your buck” be calculated (e.g. $ for NOx reduced, ROI or TBD)?

A method for calculating “bang for the buck” has not been officially determined; however, we are particularly interested in getting the biggest impact from the dollars spent. Although the primary goal for the funds is NOx emissions, impacts also include other factors such as benefits to vulnerable populations, economic development, and energy assurance.

Will Alabama’s Life Cycle Cost Law spreadsheet be a required part of submission data for vehicles?

Application and reporting requirements will be determined during the planning process. We appreciate the suggestion and will take this under consideration.

Would a municipality in Alabama be eligible to install a plug-in EV facility for public/private use on city-owned property? If so, would this be under the Light-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Supply Equipment category?

If specified as a focus area in the Alabama Mitigation Plan, a municipality in Alabama would be eligible to install a plug-in EV facility for public/private use on city-owned property. Charging stations for light duty vehicles would be covered under the Light-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Supply Equipment category; however, if the municipality repowers or replaces vehicles under other categories (trucks or buses) with all-electric options, charging infrastructure to support those vehicles would be covered under the same category as the vehicle replacement or repower.

Would Dothan be an eligible area based on our air quality as a determining factor?

Outside of the guidance given in the consent decree, specific determining factors for project eligibility have not yet been determined. It is likely that factors such as air quality in the area will be weighted in the evaluation criteria, for example projects located in areas with heavier air pollution would be scored higher for that specific criteria than projects located in areas with less pollution.

Will the vehicle year of eligibility slide as time progresses?

No, the model year for vehicles eligible for replacement will not change over time.

What goes into ADECA’s “Final Plan”? Mainly a distribution of funds among new diesel vs. alternative energy types and among eligible vehicle /power groups?

Eligible mitigation actions included in the Final Plan will be determined by careful evaluation of public input and other relevant considerations. Eligible mitigation actions could include all allowable categories or only a few.

If our school system was interested in one propane bus, what steps would we need to take first?

First, submit a comment through one of our public input portals suggesting that school bus replacement/repower be included in the Alabama Mitigation Plan. If this category is then included in the Plan, apply for funding when a request for applications is issued.

Where can I find Appendix D-2, referenced in the information about Eligible Mitigation Action #10, DERA Option?

The information about the DERA Option is taken directly from Appendix D-2 which is an Appendix to the Environmental Trust Agreement for State Beneficiaries and can be found through a link on the “Resources” page of our website.

What is the name of the state agency that manages DERA in Alabama?

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

Do any of the ten Eligible Mitigation Actions cover generation/refining of alternative fuels (e.g. biodiesel, solar, wind, etc.)?

No, the eligible mitigation action categories do not address generation/refining of alternative fuels. However, it is possible that the mitigation action categories involving all-electric charging infrastructure could include integration of solar generation for charging purposes. This option will be considered during our planning process.

Should proposals submitted include a cost estimate?

Yes. Applications have not yet been developed but will definitely require project cost estimates.

In regard to beneficial impact/emission calculator tools, is the funding burden on the state to measure/demonstrate reduction or will a portion of the approximately $25M be set aside to cover this expense?

The state will require funding recipients to measure/demonstrate and report NOx reductions and project impact and provide information on methods used to calculate these benefits.

Are charging stations connected to the grid or solar power using storage units funded or allowable?

The Trust Agreement does not directly specify that charging stations be grid connected, except for eligible action item #5, Oceangoing Vessels Shorepower. Storage units that are a part of charging infrastructure are also not directly addressed in the Trust Agreement. We will consider the inclusion of storage units and make a determination on eligibility during our planning process.

Will light-medium duty service/maintenance trucks owned by a government agency be eligible for replacement? Gas burners?

Medium-duty trucks (class 4-7) may be replaced, including gas burners. No light duty vehicles are eligible for replacement. Please note that although the vehicle being replaced may be gasoline powered, all replacement vehicles must be new diesel, alternative fueled, or all-electric.

Do replacement vehicles have to be Volkswagens?

No.

Can the public use a charging station that is set up by the state or a university?

Yes, if the charging station is funded under Eligible Mitigation Action #9, Light Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Supply Equipment. This is not necessarily the case if the infrastructure is funded under one of the other mitigation action categories to support vehicles repowered or replaced.

Do vehicles that are replaced have to have the frame cut and engine drilled?

Yes, the purpose of the mitigation actions is to reduce emissions so it is important that the vehicles being replaced be rendered inoperable.

After the vehicle being replaced is scrapped, can the rest of the vehicle (wheels, etc.) be parted out and sold?

Proof of scrappage will be required but once the motor is drilled and the frame cut, it would seem that other unrelated parts would be allowable to offer for sale.  This is something we will consider and address during the planning process.

Do charging stations have to be universal?

This is not directly addressed in the Trust Agreement but will likely be a requirement of the Alabama Plan.

Can electric vehicle charging stations include a power generation unit (e.g. solar)?

Although not directly addressed in the Trust Agreement, eligibility for integration of solar generation for charging infrastructure will be considered during our planning process.

Is it possible to get funding for a project that has already started?

No, there will be no retroactive funding.

Can the 15% for charging infrastructure (Mitigation Action #9) be increased?

No, this limit is set by the Trust Agreement.

Is the 15% for charging infrastructure mandated?

No, using 15% of the funds for infrastructure is optional, as are all of the other eligible mitigation actions.  A determination of which actions to include in the Alabama Plan will be made after a careful evaluation of public input and other considerations.

How do you plan to identify vulnerable populations? How do you plan to measure benefits to vulnerable populations?

Generally, those individuals more susceptible to the harmful effects of air pollution (such as children, people with certain health issues, those living in heavy traffic areas, etc.) are considered to be “vulnerable populations”. Public input on how to identify these populations and how to measure benefits to vulnerable populations is welcomed.  This will be more clearly defined and determined during our planning process.

Did the settlement mandate the NOx reductions or was that a state choice? How will PM2.5 reductions be evaluated?

Reducing NOx is the primary purpose of the environmental mitigation funds allocated through the settlement to the states to mitigate the damage to air quality caused by the VW infraction. Several different calculators are available to assist with evaluation of emission reductions. A listing of some of these may be accessed through a link on our website.

What metrics will be used to measure economic development potential and return on investment?

Specific metrics to measure economic development potential and return on investment have not been developed. Suggestions from the public are welcome.

Are funds subject to federal highway or federal transit regulations?

The VW Settlement funds are not federal. Our office is not aware of any federal highway and federal transit regulations impacting the funds; however, it is recommended that you contact these federal agencies directly with any questions in this area.

Will these funds be administered strictly by ADECA?

Yes, ADECA has been designated by Governor Ivey to handle all matters related to the administration of the VW Settlement funds in Alabama.

Can the funds be used to replace a stationary diesel generator with natural gas?

No, the replacement of stationary diesel generators is not included as an eligible mitigation action in the Trust Agreement.

What is the reason fueling infrastructure is not included as an eligible use of funds?

ADECA was not involved in determining eligible mitigation actions under the Trust Agreement and has no information on the reason certain fueling infrastructure was not included.

Will trucks that are pre-1992 be considered for replacement with VW Settlement Funds?

No, eligible model years for truck replacement/repower have been set by the Trust Agreement to be 1992 – 2009. ADECA must abide by the terms of the Trust Agreement and does not have the authority to make changes.

What kinds of projects will be allowed for the expenditure of these funds for county governments? Will the funds only be allowed for such things as bike lanes, mass transit, etc.?

Eligible Mitigation Actions are specified in the Trust Agreement and listed here. Public input and other considerations will determine which of these eligible project types will be included in the Alabama Mitigation Plan. Certain mass transit options are listed as eligible mitigation actions in the Trust Agreement; however, bike lanes are not.

I owned a Volkswagen Beetle for 2 ½ years. How much is my portion of the settlement?

Information on vehicle buyback and modifications for consumers can be found at www.vwcourtsettlement.com/en/. This portion of the VW Settlement is not administered by the state of Alabama.

What is the process for getting a grant from VW Funds to repower marine vessels from diesel to electric?

Two types of projects involving marine vessels are included in the listing of eligible mitigation actions under the VW Settlement Trust Agreement: Ferries/Tugs and Ocean-Going Vessels Shorepower. If you would like to see these types of projects funded with VW Mitigation Action funds in Alabama, please submit your comments through our VW Settlement email address, vwsettement@adeca.alabama.gov. After careful evaluation of public input and other relevant considerations, a Mitigation Action Plan for Alabama will be developed and a request for applications will be released. Please stay updated on our progress by visiting our website, www.adeca.alabama.gov/vwsettlement.

How much money will Alabama get from the settlement?

Alabama will receive a total of $25,480,968 from the VW Environmental Mitigation Trust.

What are the planned uses for this money?

A Beneficiary Mitigation Plan will be developed to determine how the funds will be spent in Alabama. Information on the planning process and specific plan requirements may be found by visiting www.adeca.alabama.gov/vwsettlement.

We hear that some funds are set aside for electric car charging stations. Can you provide more details?

The Consent Decree and Trust Agreement allow for up to 15% of Mitigation Trust Funds to be spent for light duty zero emission vehicle supply equipment. Details can be found here.

Over what period of time will Alabama get these funds?

States have up to 10 years to spend 80% of their allocation and up to 15 years to spend 100% of their allocation.

If the frame is to be cut on equipment being replaced there would be issues in hauling away scrap. Who pays for removal?

The cost of scrap removal will be the responsibility of the owner.

Do funds exist to pay for scrapping equipment?

ADECA is aware of no available funding source for scrapping equipment.

Will the entity receiving the funds for replacement have to pay for scrapping the equipment?

Any cost incurred in scrapping of equipment will be the responsibility of the entity receiving the funds.

Does the entity get to keep any revenue from scrapping the equipment?

Yes.

How will the application and disposal titles to the equipment be handled?

This issue is currently being researched.  Information on equipment inventory and disposal requirements will be provided during the application process.

May funds be used for clerical and administrative costs of disposing and replacing vehicles?

Recipient administrative expenses are not expected to be considered as eligible for funding under the Alabama Mitigation Plan; however, a final determination of this issue will be made after careful evaluation of public input.

How will the documentation process work?

Standardized documentation requirements will be developed during the planning process and fully explained prior to a request for applications.

Will the state have to have someone present when the disposal process happens?

Verification of scrappage will be required; however, specific procedures have not yet been determined.

Can the funding be used for other hybrids like hydraulic driven equipment?

Eligible vehicles may be replaced or repowered with any new diesel or alternate fueled (e.g., CNG, propane, hybrid) engine.

Will locations with better environments have less consideration than locations who do not put as much effort in maintaining good air quality?

The purpose of the Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund is to mitigate damage to air quality and the environment caused by the VW infractions. Beneficiaries are required to consider areas that bear a disproportionate share of the air pollution burden when developing mitigation plans.

Does the settlement supply funding for monitoring air quality and confirming the settlement made a difference?

The settlement does not provide funds for monitoring air quality; however, air quality impact estimates will be required as part of the application process.

Will new equipment have to be the exact type and size as the equipment being replaced? For example, can you replace a 20-yard dump truck with a 25-yard dump truck?

This is not specifically addressed in the Trust Agreement. A determination on the issue will be made during the planning process.

Will the entities replacing equipment have to purchase off of state bid or N.J.P.A or H.G.A.C or can they buy from whomever they choose?

Entities replacing equipment will be required to follow standard procurement procedures and laws applicable to their organization.

If a freight switcher operates less than the required 1,000 hours annually, but is an upgrade from unregulated emissions levels to better than Tier 4 emissions levels, could it still be considered as eligible for funding?

No, the Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement specifically states that to be eligible for repower or replacement, freight switcher locomotives must operate 1,000 or more hours per year.

Are off-road backhoes and tractors eligible for funding?

Off-road diesel vehicles like backhoes and tractors may be eligible for funding under the DERA Option only.

Can a school system which has been contracting diesel school buses end the contract for the diesel buses and use VW funds to purchase new alternative fueled buses?

Ending a contract employing diesel buses and replacing it with the purchase of new alternative fueled buses would not, in itself, qualify for funding through the VW settlement. To be eligible for VW Settlement funds to purchase new alternative fueled buses, old diesel buses be scrapped.

Are all-electric rail car movers eligible under the freight switcher locomotive category as they were referenced in the NASEO toolkit for the states and they perform the same function as a switch locomotive?

The Trust Agreement defines “freight switcher” as a locomotive that moves rail cars around a rail yard as compared to a line-haul engine that moves freight long distances. All-electric options are eligible for funding under this mitigation action category.

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