ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud Metro Bus will hire a firm to help them determine if their fleet replacement plans should include alternative fueled buses like compressed natural gas powered ones.

St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission spokesman Tom Cruikshank says CNG is a more stable commodity than diesel fuel right now.  But, he admits the up-front costs of CNG buses is likely higher than diesel-powered ones.  He adds there may also be additional funds to help buy buses using "green" technology.

Cruikshank says hybrid buses are also a possibility.

The MTC estimates they will need to be replacing some of the 23 buses in their fleet in a few years.  And, he says they want to be sure they are going in the right direction.

The MTC will use a $32,000 federal grant from the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization and match it with $8,000 locally to conduct the feasibility analysis. Cruikshank says they hope to have a firm on board sometime this spring.