Buses drive to be greener

September 17, 2012 by  

It is hoped that the days of noxious diesel fumes billowing from city buses will soon be a thing of the past. The federal government, in an effort to help municipalities run cleaner and more environmentally friendly public transportation, has been issuing grants to fund cost-effective and green sources of fuel.

St. Cloud was recently awarded $3.3 million, which will be used to upgrade the Metro Bus operations headquarters so that buses will be able to use compressed natural gas – a project which should be two years in the making. The grant was announced by Ray LaHood, U.S. Transportation Secretary.

Experts claim that natural gas burns more cleanly and is not as expensive as diesel fuel, which is the current fuel used to power St. Cloud transit buses. According to federal statistics, natural gas used in the U.S. as a heating or combustion fuel is extracted and produced in North America, so converting to compressed natural gas will help the local economy.

Once the job is complete, city transit could engage St. Cloud print companies in a public relations campaign to create bus board advertising and posters for bus interiors letting customers know that they are riding a ‘greener’, cleaner bus, thereby making transit customers feel good about the choice they have made to ride public.

Metro Bus operations center will need to compress the natural gas for use in their buses and construction of the conversion will be being in the spring 2013. The $3.3 million federal grant will help offset the total price of the project, tagged at approximately $4.2 million.

Once the facility conversion is complete, buses powered by the compressed natural gas should be on the roads in St. Cloud by 2014.