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Merkel: Germany to double diesel ‘clean air’ projects fund

German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds files prior to a meeting of the German government and mayors of various German cities in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017 on air quality protection. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel says her government plans to double the size of a fund meant to help improve air quality in German cities and head off driving bans for older diesel cars.

Merkel proposed Monday doubling the “mobility fund” to 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion). She said it could fund projects from reorganizing traffic management systems to helping switch to electric cars.

Half the previously planned 500 million euros comes from the auto industry. Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel signaled after he and Merkel met mayors and state governors that he expects automakers to contribute to the increase.

Last month, German automakers committed to fitting over 5 million diesel cars in the country with updated software to reduce harmful emissions and to finance incentives for drivers to trade in older models.

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