ST. PAUL — State regulators have earmarked approximately $15 million of settlement funds from a federal lawsuit with Volkswagen to replace Minnesota school buses and heavy-duty vehicles with ones powered by electric motors.

The state Pollution Control Agency on Wednesday, Nov. 20 announced plans to continue a series of grant programs established during the first phase of settlement funding that began in 2018 and ends in January 2020. Approximately $23.5 million in clean transportation initiatives are planned for the next phase, which concludes in 2023.

As part of Volkswagen's 2017 settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, the company agreed to pay out a total of $15 billion for violating emissions standards. Prosecutors alleged that the manufacturer knowingly sold diesel cars and SUVs that produced 30 to 40 times more nitrogen oxides than the law permits.

A $2.9 billion portion of the settlement was set aside for states and tribal entities to share, with Minnesota receiving approximately $47 million.