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Biden-Harris administration announces $22M for improvements at YNP

(Yellowstone National Park)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration has announced a $22 million grant to the National Park Service for modernizing and reconstructing a 0.7-mile segment of the Norris to Golden Gate roadway on the Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone National Park. This segment is a vital transportation link for millions of visitors and local residents, connecting major destinations within the park, according to a press release by the Department of Transportation.

The project aims to significantly enhance roadway conditions by reconstructing and widening the road for improved safety, adding new pedestrian facilities to separate people from traffic and addressing congestion by providing more parking.

Key Statements from Officials

“Good transportation elements are key to experiencing the great outdoors at Yellowstone National Park,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The grant for the National Park Service will make travel there more convenient for tourists, residents, workers, and local businesses.”

Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt emphasized the long-standing partnership between the FHWA and the National Park Service, stating, “This collaboration helps make visits to Yellowstone and the 428 other national parks safer, more enjoyable, and convenient. We’re thrilled to improve access to this national treasure by providing a safer, more modern, and reliable travel experience.”

Tourism is a critical driver of the economy in and around Yellowstone. In 2021, over 4.9 million people visited the park, spending over $630 million in nearby communities. This spending supported approximately 8,740 local jobs and had a cumulative economic benefit of over $834 million.

The transportation improvements to the Norris to Golden Gate roadway will enhance tourism and visitor experience, promoting sustained economic growth in the region, according to the press release. Visitation and economic impact numbers from 2023 will be released later this summer.

“As we continue to experience record visitation at public lands across the country, now is the time to make long-overdue investments,” said Joan Mooney, Department of the Interior principal deputy assistant secretary for policy, management and budget. “Through the President’s Investing in America agenda, we are addressing critical infrastructure needs in some of the country’s most iconic public lands.”

Partnership and Progress

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly expressed pride in the relationship with the FHWA. “From helping us reopen the park after the major flood in 2022 to completing hundreds of millions of dollars in new infrastructure investments, the Federal Highway Administration is a critical partner.”

The Yellowstone project is one of five nationwide receiving a total of $88.2 million in Fiscal Year 2023 funding under FHWA’s Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Transportation Projects Program. FHWA also announced $20.5 million in Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund grants for 80 projects. The full list of grant recipients can be found at the Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund.

Future Funding Opportunities

The president’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides up to $355 million per year in Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects for fiscal years 2022–26. This law mandates that half of all funding go to projects in Tribal communities and increases the federal share of projects on Tribal transportation facilities to 100%.

In the coming weeks, FHWA expects to announce additional funding opportunities under the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects Program. To receive updates on future funding opportunities, sign up for the Office of Tribal Transportation mailing list.

To further assist the 574 federally recognized tribes with their transportation priorities, FHWA has developed the Transportation Funding Opportunities for Tribal Nations guide, which details new highway programs created under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and existing highway and bridge transportation funding programs.