News Release

Zion National Park Receives $33 Million Federal Transit Grant

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Date: February 2, 2021
Contact: Amanda Rowland, 435-772-0160

Springdale, Utah – Zion National Park will receive $33 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to begin replacing its aged shuttle bus fleet with new battery-electric transit buses. The fleet replacement project will couple funding through USDOT’s Nationally Significant Lands and Tribal Program with contributions from the National Park Service, Iron and Washington Counties and the Zion National Park Forever Project, the park’s official nonprofit partner.

The new fleet will include 26 battery-electric buses and 27 charging stations to replace the current propane-powered transit fleet. Engineering and service connections have been completed for the first phase of electric charging station installation in 2021. Delivery of new battery electric buses will occur periodically over the next several years.

“We are incredibly grateful to our long-time partners at the Department of Transportation for their support in receiving this transformative grant funding investment, said National Park Service Deputy Director Shawn Benge. 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.”

“We are so thankful for the opportunity to begin replacement of our shuttle fleet,” said Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh. “The existing fleet has served us well for 21 years but has started to deteriorate with age and use. The new equipment consists of quiet, zero-emission buses that will help to further improve the visitor experience and demonstrate National Park Service leadership in environmental sustainability.”

The Utah congressional delegation, state and local elected officials, and the Utah Clean Cities Coalition, among others, provided significant and steadfast support for this project and funding. The park’s leadership will continue to collaborate with them throughout this project.

The Zion Canyon Transportation System started operation in July 2000 with a fleet of 30 propane-powered low emission buses, operating on shuttle loops within the national park and the Town of Springdale. The existing shuttle fleet accommodated more than 6 million passenger NPS in 2019. The Town and the Utah Department of Transportation partnered with Zion National Park in standing up the original system and remain engaged, investing in safe, clean, boardings transportation with visitor shuttles, parking for private vehicles, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities through recent projects.

The Zion Canyon Shuttle system helps improve quality of life and access to tourism-related economic opportunity for rural Utah communities. Park visitors contribute more than $343 million to the regional economy, supporting over 4,300 private sector jobs. Visitation at the park is growing rapidly and Zion recently surpassed Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks to become the fourth most visited National Park.

Additional quotes below from agency leadership, elected officials and partners

Senator Mitt Romney:
“Utah’s own Zion National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the country, with more than 4 million visitors every year. Their shuttle system is paramount to alleviating traffic problems and offering visitors access to parts of the park like Angel’s Landing and The Narrows. With this grant, the park will be able to replace their shuttle system, which will in turn provide economic opportunity for Washington, Kane, and Iron counties, including the town of Springdale, and allow for continued and expanded access to visitors. I look forward to seeing Zion National Park continue to provide visitors from Utah and around the world with an enjoyable experience for years to come.”—Senator Mitt Romney

Congressman Chris Stewart:
“This is great news for our state, the local tourism industry, and the millions who come from across the world to experience Zion National Park. Clean electric busses will better distribute visitors around the park which will improve the visitor experience while simultaneously protecting the park’s unique natural resources. This has been years in the making and I am proud to have worked with local leaders to make this a reality.” - Rep. Chris Stewart

Governor Spencer Cox:
"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 who depend on those visitors. Additionally, this new electric bus system will better serve the sensitive ecosystem of Zion, preserving its beauty for future generations." - Governor Spencer Cox

Last updated: April 13, 2021

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