August 1, 2017 / 12:11 PM / a year ago

Merkel pledges more funds to clean up city air

BERLIN, Sept 4 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced plans on Monday to double to 1 billion euros ($1.19 billion) a fund aimed at cleaning up urban transport infrastructure in a bid to avert bans of diesel vehicles in some cities.

Ahead of an election later this month, Merkel has come under fire for her close ties to Germany’s powerful auto industry and for failing to crack down on vehicle pollution after Volkswagen admitted to cheating U.S. emissions tests.

The meeting on Monday was a follow-up to a summit held last month at which politicians and car bosses agreed to overhaul engine software on 5.3 million diesel cars to cut emissions, and set up a fund of 500 million euros to help cities limit pollution.

Merkel told a news conference that the fund would now be doubled to 1 billion euros. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the auto industry should contribute more to the fund than the 250 million euros it pledged last month. (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Caroline Copley)

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