NPCA submitted the following position to members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ahead of a markup scheduled for October 2, 2018.
NPCA urges members to support S. 3172, Restore Our Parks Act, when it comes before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The National Park Service is suffering from nearly $12 billion in deferred maintenance needs including run-down trails; crumbling roads and bridges; deteriorating historic buildings, memorials and monuments; and outdated and unsafe water, sewer and electrical systems. This challenge is largely due to both aging infrastructure that in many cases has outlived its life-cycle and inadequate federal funding over decades. Dedicating funding to repair our parks supports both the preservation of our heritage and the tourism economy that relies on accessible and functional park facilities.
NPCA is pleased to see the bipartisan support for addressing our national parks pressing maintenance needs with the introduction of the Restore Our Parks Act. This legislation dedicates up to $6.5 billion to national park infrastructure repairs over five years. The funding is derived from 50 percent of miscellaneous receipts up to $1.3 billion annually from onshore and offshore energy royalties that are not otherwise dedicated to other purposes including the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Historic Preservation Fund, two programs that NPCA also supports. Of note, LWCF would still be subject to appropriations as it is now, so we continue to urge permanent reauthorization and dedicated funding for that successful program.
S. 3172 does not limit usage of funds to specific years; if funds are not used immediately in any particular year, they can be temporarily deposited into an interest-bearing account. This ensures the National Park Service can have the time required to plan for and effectively address backlog projects because many of the largest, high-priority projects will require multi-year funding. Public donations may be used to augment federal investments in the fund.
This bill is the result of negotiations on previously introduced bills and reflects compromise and consensus on an issue with strong bipartisan support. We urge you to support this important legislation.
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Senior Director of Budget & Appropriations, Government Affairs