SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABC4) – Out with the old, in with the new. Utah’s Zion National Park announced on Tuesday that it will be receiving a $33 million federal transit grant from the Utah Department of Transportation.
The money will be used to replaced it’s fleet of older shuttle buses with electric transit buses.
The new fleet of buses will include 26-battery electric and 27 charging stations that will replace the current fleet of propane-powered buses.
The fleet replacement project will use funding provides by USDOT’s Nationally Significant Lands and Tribal Program, with additional money coming from the National Park Service, Iron County, Washington County, and the Zion National Park Forever Project.
“We are incredibly grateful to our long-time partners at the Department of Transportation for their support in receiving this transformative grant funding investment,” National Park Service Deputy Director Shawn Benge said. This project has universal and bipartisan support from local, state, and federal elected officials and demonstrates the NPS commitment on finding collaborative solutions for Zion’s visitors and neighboring communities.”
According to a news release, the Zion Canyon Transportation System started operation in 2000 with a fleet of 30 propane-powered buses. The Park’s current fleet transported over 6 million passengers in 2010.
Local elected officials offered their congratulations to Zion National Park on receiving the grant, with Governor Spencer Cox saying, “Congratulations to Zion National Park for receiving this $33 million grant. These funds to modernize Zion’s transportation system will benefit our visitors and the rural economies that depend on those visitors. Additionally, this new electric bus system will better serve the sensitive ecosystem of Zion, preserving its beauty for future generations.”
Visitors to Zion National Park contribute over $343 million jobs to the regional economy, a news release said.
Zion National Park recently surpassed Yosemite and Yellowstone National Park to become the country’s fourth most visited National Park.