Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will receive $193,400 in federal funds for
the purpose of establishing a shuttle service linking the South Shore
commuter line to sites in the park.
That grant is one of 29 totaling $12.5 million announced on Monday by U.S.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for projects to improve access to
America’s national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges.
Those projects “will help reduce traffic congestion and make it easier for
millions of visitors to enjoy the nation’s scenic federal lands,” the
Department of Transportation said.
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.
The $193,400 awarded to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will purchase new
transit vehicles and implement a shuttle service “to connect visitors
traveling from Chicago and its suburbs via the Chicago South Shore and South
Bend commuter rail service to this popular summer destination along Lake
Michigan’s southern shore,” the Department of Transportation said.
“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,” LaHood said. “Improving access to
modern transit services throughout our scenic parklands and protected areas
will help us to preserve these national treasures for future generations.”
“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,” Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said. “From
new pedestrian walkways and bicycle trails to energy-efficient shuttle
buses, these investments help to keep our parks sustainable for years to
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.