Alexander: Tennessee Receives $10 Million for Foothills Parkway to Improve Access to the Smokies, the Nation’s “Most Visited National Park”

Posted on July 26, 2016

Says visitors from across the country and world will be able to experience the park more easily, have greater access to panoramic views of the mountains

***

“The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited park in the United States, already has a tremendous economic impact in East Tennessee. …The completion of this 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway will continue to enhance tourism and economic development in the area.”

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2016 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that a $10 million federal transportation grant he supported will help complete a 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway in Blount and Sevier counties, improving access to the federally owned and operated Great Smoky Mountains National Park and “enhancing tourism and economic development” in East Tennessee.

“I grew up hiking, hunting and fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains, a national and Tennessee treasure. Completion of this 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway will help the Smokies' more than nine million visitors from around the world experience the park more easily and have greater access to panoramic views of the mountains.”

In April, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) submitted a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant application to fund the completion of a 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway. Alexander supported completion of this section of the parkway in Blount and Sevier counties and sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx in April urging the Department to approve the $10 million TIGER grant request. The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced the grant has been approved.

Alexander continued, “The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the United States, already has a tremendous economic impact in East Tennessee. In 2014, the park hosted more than ten million visitors, who spent more than $800 million and supported more than 12,000 jobs. The completion of this 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway will continue to enhance tourism and economic development in the area.”

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 Tennessee Department of Transportation have worked diligently to complete 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.

### 

For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.

To stay up-to-date on the senator’s latest actions, follow him on Twitter and YouTube.