Nov. 5—The Meridian Airport Authority is set to receive more than $430,000 through the first round of funding provided through the State of Mississippi's Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced on Thursday.
MDEQ is awarding $7,331,408 to 22 government and non-government entities, including 12 school districts, for eligible projects using funds allocated to Mississippi from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust.
The Trust was established as a result of a settlement agreement between Volkswagen and the U.S. Government regarding excess emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel vehicles equipped with "defeat devices."
"The goal of the mitigation projects is the reduction of diesel emissions, specifically nitrogen oxide pollutants, which have been linked to increased ozone levels and air contaminants," said Chris Wells, MDEQ Executive Director. "This money was intended to have local impact, and we are glad to have a part in getting these funds into our communities in hopes of creating a healthier Mississippi."
Selected recipients will receive awards in the form of a rebate that may cover up to 70% of project costs. Most of the project funding will support the replacement of older, diesel-powered vehicles and equipment with new, lower-emitting diesel, clean fuels, or electric vehicles and equipment. The remainder of the funding will support the installation of publicly accessible electric charging stations for light-duty electric vehicles.
Meridian Airport Authority will use its award of $430,435 to replace seven diesel-powered ground support devices with electric equivalents.
Recipients have until Sept. 30, 2025 to complete projects and request reimbursement up to the amount awarded.
The 12 public school districts awarded funding to replace older school buses include:
—Corinth School District — $995,452 for four electric buses and four charging stations
—George County School District — $353,340 for six diesel buses
—Jackson County School District — $1,500,000 for six electric buses and six charging stations
—Louisville Municipal School District — $54,000 for one diesel bus
—Lowndes County School District — $217,428 for four diesel buses
—Monroe County School District — $412,800 for eight diesel buses
—New Albany School District — $223,650 for four diesel buses
—Ocean Springs School District — $625,020 for eleven diesel buses
—Pontotoc County School District — $453,537 for two electric buses
—Union County School District — $474,000 for eight diesel buses
In addition to Meridian Airport, the following government and non-government entities awarded funding for various environmental mitigation projects:
—City of Batesville — $9,000 for four Level 2 dual port pedestal charging stations to be installed at the downtown Batesville Square
—City of Clarksdale — $6,129 for two Level 2 dual port pedestal charging stations to be installed at the Clarksdale Civic Auditorium
—Columbus Light and Water — $48,060 for two DC fast-charging stations to be installed at their auxiliary parking area
—Oxford Utilities — $48,060 for two DC fast-charging stations to be installed at the City of Oxford Downtown Parking Garage
—Pan Isles, Inc. — $282,986 to replace two diesel engines and one diesel generator with new diesel engines on the M/V Gulf Islander ferry, a 250-passenger ferry providing service from Gulfport Harbor to Ship Island
—St. Andrew's Episcopal School — $53,645 for replacement of two diesel school buses with new diesel school buses
—Starkville Utilities — $48,060 for two DC fast-charging stations to be installed at the Starkville Electric Department
—Sysco Jackson — $310,170 for replacement of 14 heavy-duty short-haul diesel combination tractors with 14 new diesel tractors
—Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association — $123,057 for four DC fast-charging stations to be installed at the Batesville Civic Center
—Tombigbee Electric Power Association — $48,060 for two DC fast-charging stations to be installed at the Kohl's Department Store
—Waste Management — $570,000 for replacement of 13 heavy-duty diesel solid waste collection vehicles with Clean Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles