WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $12.5 million in grants for 29 projects in 20 states to improve access to America’s national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. The selected projects will help reduce traffic congestion and make it easier for millions of visitors to enjoy the nation’s scenic Federal lands. The funds are provided through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks program, which awarded $40.8 million for similar projects in January 2012.
A map and a complete list of projects can be found here.
“In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama called on us to upgrade our nation’s transportation infrastructure to help grow our economy and improve energy efficiency,” said Secretary LaHood. “Improving access to modern transit services throughout our scenic parklands and protected areas will help us to preserve these national treasures for future generations.”
Secretary LaHood, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and FTA Administrator Rogoff traveled to Commerce City, Colorado, to announce a $1,735,000 grant to expand the Rocky Mountain Greenway, a pedestrian and bicycle trail system that will connect the Denver metropolitan area’s trail systems, three National Wildlife Refuges in the region and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Secretary LaHood and Administrator Rogoff also visited Glacier National Park in West Glacier, Montana, to announce a $250,000 program grant for new, fuel-efficient buses to continue providing free shuttle service for park visitors, which helps to reduce traffic congestion along the park’s 50-mile road.
“By taking cars off the road and reducing harmful emissions and pollutants in our nation’s most natural and pristine settings, we’re helping Americans and visitors from around the world enjoy these public lands as they were meant to be enjoyed,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. “From new pedestrian walkways and bicycle trails to energy-efficient shuttle buses, these investments help to keep our parks sustainable for years to come.”
The funds announced today are part of $80 million distributed to 134 Transit in the Parks projects across the country over the last three years. This grant program was not reauthorized under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) which was passed by Congress last year. Going forward, public transportation projects serving national parks and other federal lands remain eligible for funding under the Federal Lands Transportation Program administered by the Federal Highway Administration.