LIMA — With alternative fuel sources becoming more readily available, such as compressed natural gas or biodiesel fuel, Mayor David Berger said he is hopeful that looking more closely at these alternatives might be of benefit to the city, both economically and environmentally.
City administration announced its intention to seek $50,000 in state grant funds to conduct an alternative fuels assessment of various vehicle fleets inside the city, including city vehicles, bus fleets in the Lima-Allen County Regional Transit Authority as well as Lima City Schools, the Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 1 and West Ohio Community Action Partnership, among others.
The assessment would be conducted by Clean Fuels Ohio, a statewide nonprofit that helps local governments and organizations create plans to integrate alternative fuel sources into their fleets.
“Clean Fuels Ohio’s mission is to help fleets improve both their economic and environmental performance,” according to Clean Fuels Ohio Executive Director Sam Spofforth. “Ohio’s Local Government Innovation Fund’s feasibility studies have helped provide funding to fleets throughout the state to identify cost-saving opportunities while also improving environmental outcomes.”
This study would examine both fuel accessibility, driver practices, maintenance and replacement of vehicles and other factors. Berger maintains that this issue deserves study, as technology has made various alternative fuels more accessible.
“There’s a real opportunity here for the city to understand the range of options available,” he said. “This study will help both city government and our partners to see where we can maximize operational cost-effectiveness and environmental performance of fleet vehicles.”
Sheretta Smith, Berger’s chief of staff, will be the coordinator for this project, and she said Lima could have a good chance to receive funding.
“This is a competitive grant, but we hope that our collaborative approach with other local public and private organizations will optimize our application’s effectiveness,” she said.
Lima City Council will vote Monday on ordinances to both apply for grant funding for the project and, should the funds be awarded, enter into a contract with Clean Fuels Ohio to conduct the study.