Chesterton Tribune


$193K grant to establish shuttle service from South Shore to National Lakeshore

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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 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.



Posted 2/19/2013