A Steamboat Springs Transit hybrid bus drives through snow on U.S. Highway 40 in the winter. Routt County is one of nine counties in the state that stands to benefit from a new alternative fuel vehicle pilot program.

Scott Franz/file

A Steamboat Springs Transit hybrid bus drives through snow on U.S. Highway 40 in the winter. Routt County is one of nine counties in the state that stands to benefit from a new alternative fuel vehicle pilot program.

Routt County to be part of new alternative fuel vehicle project

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— Lisa Adamo said Tuesday that she always is looking into the possibility of using more alternative fuels in her taxi fleet based in Steamboat Springs.

But Adamo said the biggest challenge that faces Go Alpine is the lack of reliable refueling stations that offer alternative fuels between here and Denver, where shuttles constantly are traveling and could be delayed by traffic and weather.

“What we have found at this point in the game is that simply buying hybrids is a good choice for us,” Adamo said. “But we constantly look at compressed natural gas, electric and propane to see what the possibilities are. The pricing comes down every year.”

Adamo said she was pleased to learn Tuesday that a $225,000 grant from the Colorado Energy Office soon will bring energy coaches to Steamboat to help transportation providers like Go Alpine further explore the potential of utilizing more alternative fuels. Maria Eismann, coordinator of Northern Colorado Clean Cities, said managers of public and private fleets can work together with the coaches to explore the viability of using alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas, propane and electricity.

A kickoff event is scheduled for Sept. 5 at Centennial Hall in downtown Steamboat.

“One reason we chose Routt County for this program is when we interviewed fleet managers there, we saw a real interest in checking out alternative fuels,” Eismann said. “We’ll look at different fuels that are out there and see if any of them are a good match for the type of fleet they have.”

Eismann said fleet managers also could collaborate to possibly obtain alternative fuels at a lower cost and bring new infrastructure to support it.

She said early interest in the program came from local transportation providers that include Go Alpine, the city and the Steamboat Springs School District.

All of those entities already have started to embrace alternative energy in one form or another.

The school district, for example, has been replacing its older diesel buses with ones that are powered by propane. The city and Go Alpine use hybrid vehicles.

Routt County is one of nine counties in the state that stands to benefit from what will be a yearlong pilot program dubbed Refuel Colorado Fleets.

The program is being led by Clean Energy Economy for the Region, a nonprofit based in Carbondale.

“We’re hoping we’ll see some positive results,” Eismann said.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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