Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) approved a $10 million federal transportation grant that will improve access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The money will help complete a 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway in Blount and Sevier counties, improving access to the park and "enhancing tourism and economic development" in East Tennessee, according to a supporter of the grant, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).
In April, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) submitted a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant application to fund the completion of the 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway.
The Foothills Parkway was authorized by Congress in 1944 and still remains unfinished. The National Park Service, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the TDOT have all contributed to the work on the Foothills Parkway. The state of Tennessee and the National Park Service have already committed funding to match this grant and to ensure the 16-mile section of the project is fully funded.