WASHINGTON – Using and adopting alternative-fueled vehicles in the Great Lakes region could become easier as a U.S. Department of Energy grant funds projects developed by three organizations in 2013.

The Lake Michigan Consortium received a grant award of $764,266 from the DOE to overcome barriers to expanding the use of alternative-fueled vehicles in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. The Lake Michigan Consortium includes Chicago Area Clean Cities, Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Clean Cities and Merrillville, Ind.-based South Shore Clean Cities. The grant will be administered by Des Plaines, Ill.-based Gas Technology Institute.

Carl and Lorrie Lisek, owners of Purdue Research Park-based Legacy Environmental Services Inc., are contracted as the executive directors of the South Shore Clean Cities and Wisconsin Clean Cities coalitions. They will help assist with directing the program's educational aspects. Carl Lisek said the grant will lead to projects with community colleges, such as Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana.

"We will look to train and educate fuel retailers, first responders, vehicle mechanics, code officials, measurement agencies and fleet operators about alternative-fueled vehicles," he said.

The Great Lakes Consortium also will partner with the City of Chicago Department of Transportation, Northern Indiana Public Service Co., and Automotive Training Solutions.

"Our goals include changing or implementing ordinances, collaborating on alternative fuel station locations and opportunities, creating and adopting vehicle conversion inspection criteria, and replicating successful incentive programs from within the region," Lisek said.

Lisek said previous alternative-fuel vehicle programs implemented by the organizations have had a broad impact on their regions.

"All three coalitions have been hugely successful in expanding the use of alternative fuels," he said. "They not only protect the environment, but also create jobs and stimulate the local economy."

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