ST. CLOUD --  U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood brought a check worth $3.3 million with him to St. Cloud today (Friday).  The federal grant will be used to help the St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission renovate it's Metro Bus Operations Center.

St. Cloud's new fleet of Compressed Natural Gas Buses, as well as the new fueling station, is one of 27 projects around the country selected to receive $59.3 million in funds through the Federal Clean Fuels Grant Program.

Metro Bus Director of Operations and Technology Tony Kellen says they'll also invest an additional $850,000 in local money for the project.

This will be the first Natural Gas transit fleet in Minnesota.

Additionally, it's expected the buses will be built by St. Cloud's New Flyer.  The company has provided St. Cloud Metro Bus with their last 10 more traditionally fueled buses.  New Flyer has already built over 4,500 Compressed Natural Gas buses.

The first buses are expected to hit the streets in 2014.

St. Cloud Metro Bus serves the cities of St. Cloud, Waite Park, Sartell, and Sauk Rapids.