DOT Puts Up $10M To Retire Old Diesel Trucks

Money from the Volkswagen settlement will target fleets operating in 'environmental-justice communities.'

A truck plied its route in Hunts Point in the Bronx. Photo: Eve Kessler
A truck plied its route in Hunts Point in the Bronx. Photo: Eve Kessler

The city will help trucking companies trade in their old, dirtier, diesel-powered clunkers for newer, less-polluting models.

The Department of Transportation announced this week that it will spend $9.8 million of New York State’s $127.7-million portion of the Volkswagen tailpipe-emissions-cheating settlement to help trucking firms replace diesel models with “all-electric, zero-tailpipe-emission trucks” or “alternative-fueled and low-emission diesel trucks.”

The announcement said that, in particular, the rebate-incentive program would look to replace trucks that operate in industrial zones, like Hunts Point in the South Bronx, that have long been plagued by a huge amount of diesel-truck exhaust — and the department touted the measure as improving air quality in communities that have been especially hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The Volkswagen money will enable the program to expand beyond the South Bronx into similar areas.

The NYC Clean Trucks Program “will ensure that the communities throughout the city living near industrial business areas that suffer disproportionately from truck emissions and poor air quality, will benefit from this replacement program by retiring the oldest dirty diesel trucks on the road,” DOT Assistant Commissioner for Regional and Strategic Planning Charles Ukegbu said in a statement.

“The program will also provide an essential economic incentive for NYC businesses that are restarting operations post-COVID,” Ukegbu continued. “This pandemic has reminded us once again how vital clean air is to the health of our communities, especially environmental-justice communities of color.”


The DOT’s page or the program says that companies may “secure funding from $12,000 to $185,000 per truck replacement, depending on fuel type and truck-class size.”