DOT Announces $40.8 Million to Improve Access to America’s National Parks, Forests, Wildlife Refuges

Federal Lands in 24 States and the District of Columbia Use Funds to Enhance Transportation Choices for a cleaner, ‘greener’ visitor experience

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–January 17, 2012. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $40.8 million for 58 projects that will provide safe, convenient access for visitors to America’s national parks, forests and wildlife refuges, and modernize aging transportation infrastructure. The money is provided by the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks program.

“Our nation’s scenic parklands and protected areas are national treasures attracting millions of visitors each year,” said Secretary LaHood.  “It’s vitally important to preserve and protect these lands for today’s visitors as well as future generations by investing in safe, accessible and environmentally sustainable transportation.”

The U.S. National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and local partner communities will receive FTA funds for the projects, which range from redesigning and widening the Nauset Bicycle Trail at Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts to purchasing new buses to transport visitors between Sausalito and the Muir Woods National Monument in California.

“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 the parks, forests and wildlife preserves the way they were meant to be enjoyed,” said  FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff.

Administrator Rogoff visited Cuyahoga Valley National Park today, to announce five grants totaling $3.2 million for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, which has been a very successfully and popular attraction at the national park outside Cleveland, OH.

FTA’s Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks program was established by Congress to enhance the protection of national parks and federal lands and increase the enjoyment of those visiting them. The grants announced today will come primarily from Fiscal Year 2011 funds, with additional funding being provided from Fiscal Year 2012 funds.

Administered by the FTA in partnership with the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service, the program funds capital and planning expenses for alternative transportation systems, such as shuttle buses and bicycle trails, in national parks and public lands. The goals of the program are to conserve natural, historical and cultural resources, and reduce congestion and pollution.

A complete list of projects can be found at: http://www.fta.dot.gov/grants/13094.html.

Source: dot.gov

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