The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified diesel exhaust from sources such as transit buses as a major factor in the urban air pollution that disproportionately affects low-income and disadvantaged communities. Electric buses have zero tailpipe emissions and provide clean air benefits to communities that have historically borne a greater burden of fossil fuel pollution.
MERIT, DRPT’s project-based prioritization process for statewide transit capital funding was recently approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB). This prioritization is part of a series of public transit reforms mandated by the 2018 Virginia General Assembly. MERIT will ensure core state-of-good-repair projects, such as replacing or rehabilitating bus fleets based upon their age and mileage, are made the highest priority for state funds and are eligible to have 68 percent of project costs covered by the Commonwealth. The Volkswagen settlement funds, in turn, ensure that local transit agencies can replace their fleets with modern, high-efficiency vehicles, while maintaining the local minimum 4 percent required match.
Following comprehensive review and analysis of all funding requests, DRPT will submit a recommended list of projects for the CTB to prioritize under the new MERIT metrics, including these projects eligible for Volkswagen settlement funding. The CTB will make final project funding allocations at its June meeting next year.
All applications must be submitted electronically through OLGA.
The application and vehicle worksheet can be downloaded here: