NPCA sent the following letter of support to the United States Senate ahead of the hearing considering the nomination of Pete Buttigieg to be the Secretary of Transportation.
Our national parks are symbols of conservation, historic preservation and our shared heritage. In the last four years, as we witnessed weakened protection for cultural resources, wildlife, waterways and the list goes on, the highest level of protection was not afforded to these incredible places. We can and must do better. The Biden-Harris Administration must address climate change head-on, ensure the federal government – and the park system – is welcoming to diverse communities, and reverse damaging policies that put at risk the water, air, wildlife and other resources that make our parks world-renowned.
If confirmed, Buttigieg would work to uphold the mission of the Department of Transportation to provide safe, efficient and modern transportation systems that supports our nation’s economy while also improving rural and urban communities. As part of that, the Department of Transportation’s Office of Federal Lands Highway supports transportation to and within federal and tribal lands by providing technical services and building accessible and scenic roads.
The National Park System manages approximately 5,450 miles of park roads, more than 1,442 bridges, over 60 tunnels and approximately 150 alternative transportation systems such as ferries, shuttle buses and boats. These systems are in need of major repair and alternative systems prioritized to address overcrowding and reduce climate impacts. The National Park Service coordinates with Department of Transportation’s Office of Federal Lands Highway to finance and provide engineering expertise to upkeep and repair these transportation assets.
Buttigieg would bring experience as former mayor of South Bend, Indiana to rebuild and modernize America’s crumbling infrastructure, a key near-term initiative by the Biden Administration. He successfully reconfigured South Bend’s downtown to encourage economic growth, reduce fatalities and increase alternative transportation opportunities. He also effectively revamped South Bend’s outdoor spaces by robustly investing in local parks, trails and the riverfront. We have confidence that Mr. Buttigieg will not only invest in national park infrastructure needs in legislative proposals, but also support clean water and air for the betterment of people and wildlife in and outside of park boundaries.
Specifically, Buttigieg will be able to address the growing biodiversity crisis facing our nation by ensuring the roads near national parks and across the country are safer to both wildlife and motorists.
We know that Mr. Buttigieg will bring experience, sound decision-making and community-based solutions to his post. We applaud his nomination and look forward to his timely confirmation as Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation. NPCA supports him and all the important work ahead to address our nation’s infrastructure, including in our national parks.
For More Information
Director of Budget & Appropriations, Government Affairs