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Volkswagen Settlement:


Please see the questions below, grouped by where a Tribe is in the VW Settlement process. Click on a question to see the answer.

Prospective Beneficiary

What is Intralinks?
Intralinks is a secure website used by the Trustee to share documents and messages with Tribes who participate in the VW Tribal Trust. Each Tribe has a folder where all of their documents are saved, access to a "General Information" folder from which they can download forms they will need to apply for funds from the Tribal Trust, and the ability to ask questions or upload documents.

How does a Tribe get access to Intralinks?
As the first step in becoming a Beneficiary, a Tribe contacts the Trustee, who sends them the Officers Certificate for Intralinks Access. The form requires a signature from the Tribe's highest elected official, and has spaces for the Tribe to list whom they want to have access to Intralinks. The Tribe fills out the form, has the signatures notarized, and emails the form back to the Trustee. Once the Trustee approves the form, Intralinks access is granted to those people specified on the form.

How does a Tribe submit documents to the Trustee through Intralinks?
Documents can be submitted two different ways: 1) via direct upload to the Beneficiary's folder, or 2) via the question & answer (Q&A) process. The Q&A process is preferred, as it automatically notifies the Trustee that a document has been submitted. If if a Beneficiary uploads a document directly to their folder, they will need to manually select an option to notify the Trustee. Step-by-step instructions for using the Q&A process are available in the “General Information” folder in Intralinks.

Do I have to notify federal agencies of the Tribe’s participation in the VW Settlement (as described in section 4.2.8 of the Modified Trust Agreement)?
Tribes are only required to notify federal agencies of their participation in the program if an agency contacts the Tribe up to 30 days after they are certified as a Beneficiary of the Trust.

Under the VW-DERA option, can a Tribe use their VW money in combination with a state DERA grant or other funding source, instead of applying for Tribal DERA?
No, Tribes utilising the VW-DERA option are required to combine their Tribal VW money with Tribal DERA funds.

The census data used in the VW Settlement to calculate allocations is incorrect for my Tribe. How can I have this corrected?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to change the census data used in the Alignment Table (Appendix D-8 of the Modified Trust Agreement) to determine Beneficiary allocations. The Modified Trust Agreement states in section that "For the avoidance of doubt, the population statistics in the Alignment Table shall not be updated or revised for the life of the Indian Tribe Trust Agreement."

New Beneficiary

What are the different Trustee security documents, and what are they used for?
There are three security documents which Tribes must complete and submit to the Trustee*:

  1. The Officers Certificate for Intralinks Access is completed by a Tribe that is seeking to become a Beneficiary. It authorizes the Tribe to access Intralinks, and enables the Trustee and ITEP to work with only authorized tribally designated individuals.
  2. The Delegation of Authority and Incumbency Certificate ("Incumbency") is completed after a Tribe is designated as a Beneficiary. It allows the Beneficiary to empower additional senior officials of the Lead Agency (or Tribe) to manage the relationship with the Trustee.
  3. Exhibit A to the Delegation of Authority and Incumbency Certificate ("Exhibit A") is completed along with the Incumbency document, and allows the Beneficiary to designate "Authorized Instructors" and "Authorized Confirmers" with respect to payments from or to the Trustee. Exhibit A must be signed off by someone identified in the Incumbency document.
*The Trustee can provide additional information or assistance with these forms if needed.

Can I replace an eligible vehicle with one of a different type or weight class?
Replacement vehicles must serve essentially the same function as the vehicles being retired. For example if a truck can be replaced by one of a smaller weight class that still provides the same service, that would be acceptable. If a bus is being purchased with VW funds, the replacement bus should have a similar seating capacity as the one being replaced.

Can I replace a bus of a particular capacity with two smaller buses with a similar combined capacity?
Possibly. The assumption in the Trust Agreement is that vehicles will be replaced in a one-for-one manner. However if a Tribe can persuasively argue that replacing one bus with two smaller buses will result in reduced NOx emissions, then this may be allowable.

What are the requirements for scrapping old vehicles that are being replaced using VW funds? Can we get any value from the scrapped vehicles?
According to Appendix D-2 of the Modified Trust Agreement, any engine replaced with VW funds must be rendered permanently inoperable by drilling a 3-inch hole through the engine block. If the entire vehicle is being replaced, the frame rails must also be cut in half. Beyond these two requirements, a Tribe can decided what to do with the remainder of the vehicle, including selling it for scrap or salvaging accessories for use in other vehicles.

I've been asked to make revisions to a document I submitted through Intralinks. How do I submit the revised version?
If the document was submitted through the Q&A process, ITEP or the Trustee will respond to the question with comments detailing any requested revisions. Once the Beneficiary has made the revisions, the updated document should be submitted as a "follow up" or "reply" to the question. Please DO NOT click the option that says "add comment," as this will not make your response visible to the Trustee or ITEP and you could miss a deadline.

Can I add additional expenses like accessories, tires, extended warranties/service plans to a vehicle we plan to purchase using VW funds?
Yes, these types of items can be added as expenses under the "equipment" part of the budget.

Can we purchase solar panels as part of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure we will be acquiring with VW funds?
Solar panels can be purchased with VW funds if they are dedicated to the electric vehicle charging infrastructure also purchased using VW funds (so they can not be used to power additional infrastructure; if the system is grid-tied, they must be located "downstream" of the junction box serving the electric vehicle charging station).

Funded Beneficiary

Do I have to document the scrapping of retired vehicles?
There is no explicit requirement in the Modified Trust Agreement for documentation of scrapped vehicles. However, we strongly recommend that Tribes document scrapping, to provide proof if requested later by a member of the public. ITEP can provide a template for this; otherwise Beneficiaries may consider taking pictures of the scrapping steps, obtaining a certificate from a scrapper that the steps were carried out, or any other method of documenting that scrapping was carried out per the requirements in Appendix D-2 (see above).

What are the reporting requirements for projects funded from the VW Settlement?
Beneficiaries must submit their first report to the Trustee within six months of receiving their funds. If the project is not completed by that time, Beneficiaries must then submit semi-annual reports to the Trustee until the project is complete (due by July 30 for the months of January through June, and January 30 for the months of July through December). Details about what is required in these reports can be found in section 5.3 of the Modified Trust Agreement, and ITEP can provide a template for the reports if desired.