Auto manufacturer Volkswagen was caught cheating federal emission standards by equipping its vehicles with devices that mislead tests. As a result, the company agreed to a settlement that would include $2.9 billion to be distributed to states for projects that mitigate emissions. The funds were apportioned to the states according to where the vehicles with illegal devices were registered, as the purpose was to atone for the damage caused by Volkswagen's cheating. Texas is slated to receive $209 million.
In August 2018, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality released its plan for the funds. The draft plan dramatically shortchanges the Houston region. Harris County had more vehicles with illegal devices registered than any other Texas county, and 24 percent of the vehicles in the State were registered in the region. But only 13 percent of the funds have been allocated to the Houston area. San Antonio, which had just over 10 percent of the vehicles, will receive nearly three times as much. The plan also includes a 40 percent local match, making the funds difficult to access for Harvey-stricken local governments like the City of Houston.
TCEQ is taking comments on the draft plan until October 8. See below for the Mayor's comments and other documents pertaining to the City's efforts to secure its fair share of funds. Organizations and members of the public can submit their own comments to VWsettle@tceq.texas.gov.
The documents below are .pdf
- Mayor Turner's Comments to TCEQ on Draft Plan (.pdf)
- Testimony of Dr. Loren Raun, Chief Environmental Sciences Officer, City of Houston
- Fact Sheet on TCEQ Draft Plan for VW Settlement Funds
- TCEQ Draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan
- Comments from the Greater Houston Partnership
- Joint Houston and Dallas Legislative Delegation Letter
- Letter from Sen. Joan Huffman
- Letter from Sen. Borris Miles
- Letter from Rep. Sarah Davis