Roadways and transportation systems are integral to the national park experience, providing safe access to hundreds of millions of visitors from around the world each year.
Washington, DC – Today, the United States House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced a bill – The INVEST in America Act – that includes $2 billion in much needed dedicated funding to repair national park roads, bridges and transportation systems across the country. The INVEST in America Act would authorize federal highway, transit and rail programs, providing $494 billion over five years, with bold efforts to reduce harmful air pollution and make our nation’s infrastructure stronger and more resilient to climate change. Additionally, this bill would invest in common-sense solutions to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, protecting motorists and ensuring long-term health of national park wildlife.
“We commend Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for leading the effort to address our nation’s transportation needs, including the costly backlog of transportation projects in our parks,” said Emily Douce Director of Operations and Park Funding for the National Parks Conservation Association. “Together we want to ensure park visitors can continue to experience and enjoy these places now, and for years to come.”
The National Park System is second only to the Department of Defense in the amount of federal infrastructure it manages, including 10,000 miles of publicly accessible roads and 1,440 bridges. And due to years of underfunding and lack of resources, infrastructure and road repairs now make up more than half of the of the Park Service’s $11.9 billion backlog of maintenance needs.
“This legislation comes at a critical time for our nation and many of our national parks. Blue Ridge Parkway’s roads are crumbling, Great Smoky Mountains’ bridges are deteriorating, and Zion’s shuttle buses are rapidly aging. Roadways and transportation systems are integral to the national park experience, providing safe access to hundreds of millions of visitors from around the world each year. But these systems are in bad shape,” said Douce.
America’s national parks and public lands are a vital part of our nation’s economy and have aided in our economic growth. The INVEST in America Act would address the highest priority infrastructure needs at national park sites across the country that could generate tens of thousands of infrastructure-related jobs from construction workers to technicians to engineers.
“Right now, our communities and national parks are suffering through hard times. This bill would help put thousands of people to work throughout the country and bring much-needed relief to local economies that rely on outdoor recreation and tourism. Fixing our national parks is an investment worth making,” said Douce.
National parks are an important, but small portion of this massive surface transportation bill. Key park provisions in the bill include:
- Guarantees an increase in annual funding to the Park Service – an additional $580 million over the span of the five-year bill – through the Federal Lands Transportation Program, which provides funds to improve roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure in parks.
- Dedicates $200 million a year for federal land management agencies to address large repair projects, such as reconstruction of the Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone and repair of the Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park.
- Aims to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions by providing NPS, partner federal agencies, tribes and states with opportunities to invest in solutions that work to protect motorists and wildlife.
- Expands eligibility to fund natural infrastructure and wildlife crossing projects to enhance resiliency and address wildlife-vehicle collisions.
About The National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its nearly 1.4 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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