Parks Group Expresses Disappointment in Funding for National Park Work in Senate Recovery Package; Calls for Support of House Figure

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   January 27, 2009
Contact:   Lindsay Bartsh, National Parks Conservation Association, 415-989-9921 x22


Parks Group Expresses Disappointment in Funding for National Park Work in Senate Recovery Package; Calls for Support of House Figure

Statement by NPCA President Tom Kiernan

UPDATE: January 28, 2009 - The economic recovery proposal the House will vote on today now includes a $2.065 billion investment for the National Park System. Yesterday, a Manager's Amendment was agreed upon, which provides $15 million for renovation and preservation of buildings at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and strikes the $200 million for the National Mall Revitalization Fund.

The National Parks Conservation Association today called the level of funding for projects to repair and improve the nation's park system in the Senate version of the economic recovery package disappointing and called on Congress and the Administration to support the more aggressive national park investment included in the House bill.

While the bill approved today by the Senate Appropriations Committee is believed to include some $802 million for national park projects, the House measure provides $2.25 billion--nearly $1.5 billion more than the Senate bill--for pre-approved park construction projects, road, and bridge improvements, repairs to the National Mall, and matching fund projects under the Centennial Challenge Program.

A statement released by NPCA President Tom Kiernan said: "The lower Senate number misses an historic opportunity to create thousands of meaningful jobs while at the same time beginning the process of restoring our National Park System in time for its upcoming centennial. Our economic studies show that every federal dollar spent on the national parks generates at least four dollars in economic benefit to the public, and the National Park System can put Americans to work in the next 18 months at levels far above the $800 million provided by the Senate. There is no question the higher House number makes sense for family visitors today and generations yet to come. We look to the new Administration and Congress to support our national parks to the fullest extent possible, and restore our national legacy for the benefit of our children and grandchildren."

If passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, an investment at the level contained in the House bill would create more than 50,000 new jobs in communities across the country.

The General Accountability Office has estimated that the National Park System has a maintenance backlog of nearly $9 billion.

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