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Port of Virginia to accelerate electrification with funds from Volkswagen trust

Norfolk, VA, USA -- June 6, 2019. A photo of a row of shipyard cranes set against a bright hazy sky in Port Virginia, Norfolk.
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The Governor of Virginia has announced that the state will invest $14 million from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust (VW Trust) to replace all-diesel cargo handling equipment with zero-emission all electric equipment.

In a statement, the Governor’s office said it will also invest $20 million to fund the Clean Air Communities Program to electrify government fleets across the Commonwealth

“As we continue to fight this global pandemic, we are reminded daily that we must prioritize public health in every way possible,” said Governor Ralph Northam.

“With this initiative, we will electrify operations at the Port of Virginia and drive the much-needed transition to clean transportation across our Commonwealth.

“Together, these projects show how we can make critical investments in the health and wellbeing of all Virginians while advancing our commitment to a clean energy future.”

The Port of Virginia project will use $14 million in VW Trust funds and $10 million contributed by the Port of Virginia to deploy two all-electric ship-to-shore (STS) cranes at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT).

The new cranes will support a terminal optimization at NIT moving from a predominantly diesel-powered operation to an electrified operation supported by electric and hybrid electric cargo handling equipment.

The funding will also support the initial deployment of all-electric yard tractors and charging infrastructure at the Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT). The port currently operates more than 160 diesel yard tractors.

“We are pleased to be part of the next steps in building Virginia’s clean energy economy,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority.

“These investments will help the Port of Virginia continue our efforts to reduce emissions, be good stewards of the environment, and provide world-class service to our customers.”

“These are exactly the kind of transformational, innovative investments that we hoped the Commonwealth could make with the funds we secured from our enforcement action against VW,” said Attorney General Mark Herring, who helped lead the multistate investigation into Volkswagen.

“These projects at the Port of Virginia will further cement its position as the premier facility on the East Coast, and the transformation of government fleets will set an example for both the public and private sectors as we seek to reduce emissions in the transportation sector.”

Virginia will also dedicate up to $20 million of VW Trust funds through a competitive application process for public electrification projects. All state and local government entities are eligible and can apply for funding to support projects that serve the public and replace diesel vehicles with zero-emission, electric vehicles.

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