ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) -

Buses in St. Cloud are getting a greener, cheaper fuel source, thanks to a $3.3 million federal grant.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the grant in St. Cloud Friday. LaHood says the grant will help St. Cloud Metro Bus convert its operations center to accommodate compressed natural-gas buses.

Officials tout natural gas as a cheaper, cleaner-burning alternative to the diesel fuel that powers Metro Bus' current fleet. Another benefit is that much of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is produced in North America.

The St. Cloud Times reports the grant will help pay for a new, compressed natural-gas fueling facility. Total project cost is estimated at $4.2 million.

Construction is expected to begin next spring. Natural-gas buses should be on St. Cloud roads by 2014.