Jackson Hole Airport has dipped into a nearly $3 billion pot from Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating settlement to purchase a new combined plow truck and ice-clearing runway broom.
The vehicle, which is on order, is an exact replica of some of the airport’s existing Norwegian-made Overaasen 400-unit snow-removal rigs. It will provide critical redundancy to the airport’s fleet of runway and apron vehicles, airport Director Jim Elwood said.
“The Volkswagen grant really gave us the flexibility to move forward and improve and enhance snow removal capacity abilities,” Elwood told his board of directors this week. “This is going to substantially improve our position with snow removal.”
The used and refurbished yellow 60-foot-long Overaasen, which came with a two-year warranty, cost $162,000, Elwood said.
The airport now has 16 large pieces of snow-removal equipment, and redundancy for every vehicle in the fleet.
“Equipment like that always breaks down when you most need it,” he said. “We’re going to continue to upgrade.”
Volkswagen agreed to spend $14.7 billion to settle its 2015 emissions scandal, according to the Volkswagen Settlement Clearinghouse website. The settlement is divided into three distinct parts. Some $10 billion was used to buy back or modify already purchased diesel vehicles. Another $2 billion went toward “zero emission vehicle” investments. The last pot of money, which the airport drew from, was nearly $3 billion for an “environmental mitigation trust” that funds projects that reduce diesel emissions.
The older diesel snow-removal vehicle that Jackson Hole Airport is replacing will be given to another Wyoming airport or sold.