by Lorrie Lisek
When it comes to sustainable transportation in the United States, many people assume only the East and West coasts are embracing adoption.
The reality is, “Third Coast” states — those around the Great Lakes, including Wisconsin — are proving to be innovative leaders in sustainable transportation.
I’m proud to serve as executive director of Wisconsin Clean Cities, one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s nearly 100 Clean Cities coalitions.
Alternative fuels play an important role in Wisconsin’s economic and environmental success, with more than 1,100 alternative fuel and electric vehicle charging stations across the state. Our dairy industry and governmental entities are working with renewable fuel producers and retailers to capture methane from dairy production and landfills for use and sale as renewable natural gas. Our members Dane County, Kwik Trip and Renewable Energy Group are all involved in those efforts to create profitable, sustainable solutions.
Still, those of us in this field often hear the chicken-and-egg analogy when it comes to alternative fuel and electric vehicles: How can I invest in them if the fueling and charging infrastructure doesn’t exist? Why should I build stations if local fleets and private owners don’t own the vehicles to support them?
One initiative getting to the heart of this issue is The Michigan to Montana I-94 Clean Fuel Corridor project (M2M), which with the help of federal grants supports an alternative fuel corridor along I-94, including through Wisconsin. Led by Gas Technology Institute in partnership with Clean Cities coalitions along the route, M2M provides commercial fleets and individual drivers with more fueling and charging sites to serve alternative fuel and electric vehicles by identifying and filling infrastructure and supporting fleet gaps.