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Recovery Act provides natural gas-powered shuttle buses for Grand Canyon National Park
Contact: Maureen Oltrogge, 928-638-7779
Contact: Robin Martin, 928-638-7684
Grand Canyon, Ariz. - The National Park Service (NPS) has purchased six low-floor accessible compressed natural gas (CNG) powered transit buses to be used as part of the visitor transportation system on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The buses were purchased from New Flyer of America, located in Crookston, MN, for about $3 million. The NPS purchased the buses through the General Service Administration’s Center for Automotive Acquisitions using funds provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
The six buses will arrive by February 2011 and will be added to the park’s existing fleet of 29 CNG powered transit buses. Grand Canyon’s entire visitor transportation system is wheelchair accessible and powered by CNG. The system is voluntary, free and available to park visitors and residents.
The park’s shuttle system began operating in 1974 and has grown to operate year-around on various routes along the park’s South Rim. The shuttle system has been successful with more than 4.9 million boardings in 2009 alone. The system now includes seasonal service to and from the gateway community of Tusayan.
Grand Canyon National Park started using CNG in 1998 to fuel buses and other heavy equipment (CNG is considered a nonpetroleum alternative fuel under the federal Energy Policy Act of 1992). Grand Canyon’s entire shuttle bus fleet was converted to CNG in 2008.
The Recovery Act provided $3 billion to the Department of the Interior. Of that amount, the National Park Service received $750 million – approximately $18 million of which was directed to Grand Canyon National Park for this and other projects that will improve visitor experience and better protect park resources while providing employment opportunities throughout the country.
These ARRA funds are part of a stimulus package that is an important component of the President’s plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing existing challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century. Under the ARRA, Interior is making an investment in conserving American’s timeless treasures – our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage – while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.
“With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.
Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery. Grand Canyon projects can also be followed on www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/arra.htm. Chris Henderson, who was appointed by Secretary Salazar to serve as Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, continues to work closely with Interior’s Inspector General to ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.
For information about Grand Canyon National Park’s visitor transportation system visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/shuttle-buses.htm. For additional information please contact Robin Martin, Concession Program Analyst, at (928) 638-7684.
Did You Know?
Each year, thousands of hikers enter the Grand Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail. They follow a route established by prehistoric people for two key reasons: water and access. Water emerges from springs at Indian Garden, and a fault creates a break in the cliffs, providing access to the springs.