RFTA seeking additional funds for biodiesel fuel | AspenTimes.com

RFTA seeking additional funds for biodiesel fuel

Aspen Times Staff

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is asking for money to fund the use of a new environmentally friendly fuel.Since November, RFTA’s entire fleet has been using a small percentage of a renewable, cleaner fuel called biodiesel.The clean-burning alternative fuel is produced from domestic, renewable resources. Interest is growing in biodiesel as a way to help make the United States less dependent on foreign oil and nonrenewable energy sources.RFTA buses are using a blend that is 5 percent biodiesel and 95 percent diesel during the demonstration period. The blend is saving 30,000 gallons of oil-based diesel fuel from being consumed, according to RFTA officials.Because biodiesel costs more than regular diesel, Mike Lichtenfeld, a citizen volunteer, CORE (the Community Office of Resource Efficiency) and the New Century Transportation Foundation joined with RFTA to raise funds for biodiesel.The effort raised enough funding for RFTA to use the blended fuel through late summer. Funding to date totaling $15,000 was granted from, among others, Aspen Skiing Co. employees, the Pitkin County Renewable Energy Mitigation Program, the state public health department and private individuals.”Our goal is to raise an additional $15,000 to continue the project through the end of 2005, and we’re seeking additional funders and partners for this demonstration project,” said Alice Laird, director of the New Century Transportation Foundation.If you have to drive solo frequently, helping to purchase biodiesel for RFTA is a great way to offset personal transportation impacts, RFTA officials said.”RFTA has adopted a policy of working toward cleaner, renewable fuels and a greener fleet, within the constraints of our tight budget. Four fuel-efficient hybrid buses are scheduled to arrive sometime next summer, and we’re very supportive of using a renewable fuel produced from crops raised by American farmers,” Kenny Osier, the authority’s director of maintenance, said in a prepared statement.”We’re pleased RFTA is taking the first step in using a renewable fuel and pleased to be able to support this project,” said Auden Schendler, director of the Skico’s Environment Foundation. “We hope Environment Foundation funding this year will help drive a permanent switch to biodiesel in the future. I can’t think of a better holiday gift [Skico] employees could give to the Roaring Fork Valley.” The Skico has been using biodiesel in all its snowcats since last year.To support the Roaring Fork Biodiesel Project go to http://www.newcenturytrans.org, call 704-9200, or send contributions to NCTF, Box 428, Carbondale, CO 81623. All funding received for the Roaring Fork Biodiesel Project goes directly to purchasing biodiesel for the demonstration project.