On April 29, 2020, the Washington State Department of Ecology awarded $12 million from the state’s federal VW Settlement allocation to fund 40 electric school buses across the state. This award makes Washington the 14th state to commit settlement funds to school bus electrification. In addition to school buses, Washington has awarded more than $13 million for electric transit buses. It is also the first and only state to invest in hybrid electric ferry boats, awarding a total of $35 million to replace three of the state’s largest vessels in September 2019.
Electric school bus funding through the VW settlement accelerated rapidly throughout the second half of 2019 largely due to Virginia’s September 2019 announcement to award $20 million for this technology. Washington made its first award for an electric school bus in 2019 through funding provided by the TransAlta Centralia Coal Transition Grants Energy Technology Board. Washington’s new award brings the total of VW settlement allocations for electric school to $46 million. This accounts for almost 23 percent of all settlement awards for school buses.