GNP And The Bypass Got Large Part Of Flathead Stimulus Funds - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

GNP And The Bypass Got Large Part Of Flathead Stimulus Funds

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WEST GLACIER - The latest numbers show that in northwest Montana, Flathead county got the most stimulus funds.

One of the two biggest recipients was Glacier National Park.

Of the $107 million Flathead county got from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, half of it went to the transportation sector. A big chunk of that went to making over the most famous road in Glacier National Park.

"That funding was critical in the Alpine section in the Going to the Sun Road," said Denise Germann, a spokeswoman for the Park.

The Going to the Sun Road rehabilitation project began back in 2007, so it was well underway when they started doling out federal funds. Germann says that's actually one of the reasons the park got so much money: the stimulus funds were largely aimed at shovel-ready projects. That is, things that could get going right away.

"It was not only work that needed to be done, but it was work for people and jobs. I mean there were many local folks that were employed through that funding at the time," explained Germann.

The park managed to pull in more than $20.9 million and besides the Road, it helped make the restrooms more handicap friendly and spruce up some backcountry trails. These investments keep drawing people, and money, into the Flathead.

"Honestly, Montana and Glacier National Park has surprised me a lot. It's my first time here and it's just been an absolutely wonderful experience," said first time visitor Sam Arturi.

The only other Flathead county project to get more than $20 million is the Kalispell bypass, that was and is a work in progress. Three grants helped connect the southern part of the alternate route.

Kalispell is still working on the bypass. Right now, they're building out the Three Mile Drive section.

According to the National Park Service, Glacier saw almost 2.2 million people enjoy its natural beauty.

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