Bill seeks to fund Park Service maintenance backlog
A bi-partisan bill seeking to create a fund to address deferred maintenance in the National Parks System has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.
The Restore Our Parks Act would establish the National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund, to be fueled by a deposit of half of all energy development revenues the U.S. receives from fiscal years 2019 through 2023. Of those funds, 65 percent would be allocated for repair and rehabilitation projects not eligible for other funding, and 35 percent would be for transportation-related projects that may also be eligible for funding through the transportation program and similar federal land highway programs. No funds could be used for land acquisition or to take the place of discretionary funding given for annually recurring facility operations and maintenance needs.
The bill was introduced June 28 by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, Mark R. Warner, D-VA, Rob Portman, R-OH, and Angus King, I-ME.
Deferred maintenance is an ongoing issue for the national parks, with the system as a whole logging more than $11 billion in deferred costs. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has $211 million in deferred maintenance, and the Blue Ridge Parkway has a $500 million backlog.
No further action has been taken on the bill since its initial introduction.