Press Release May 19, 2015

Statement Regarding Arlington Memorial Bridge Closure

Inspectors found area of corrosion on Arlington Memorial Bridge.

Below is a statement by Laura Loomis, National Parks Conservation Association’s Deputy Vice President of Government Affairs:

“The partial closure of the Memorial Bridge, which is managed by the National Park Service, underscores the increasingly decrepit roads, bridges, and tunnels within our National Park System. While national parks need $11.5 billion worth of overdue transportation and other maintenance repairs, Congress shamefully and irresponsibly continues to cut vital funding for national parks. Instead of hiding behind budget gimmicks and corroding excuses, Congress should mark the National Park System’s 100th anniversary by ensuring our parks, and their roads and bridges, are safe for everyone and have the resources to thrive.”

BACKGROUND: In March 2015, the National Park Service released their list of deferred transportation and other maintenance projects that will cost $11.5 billion to fully address. More than $6 billion of these projects are transportation-specific repairs.

Under the current law, the National Park Service is guaranteed $240 million per year for transportation projects through the Federal Highway Trust Fund. However, the annual $240 million guarantee doesn’t even fund basic maintenance across 10,000 miles of roadways that the National Park Service manages. To give you a sense of scope, a roundtrip drive from Washington, D.C., to Anchorage, Alaska is about 9,000 miles. Furthermore, the inadequate allocation from the Federal Highway Trust Fund does not begin to address the more than $6 billion in overdue transportation repairs that are needed at our national parks.

During the Memorial Bridge’s last biennial review, it was deemed “ structurally deficient.” To repair this major thoroughfare, it will cost the National Park Service upwards of $244 million – more than the entire allocation to the National Park Service from the Federal Highway Trust Fund.

Unsafe roads, bridges, tunnels, and transit systems within our national parks jeopardizes the safety of children, families, hikers, motorists, tourists, cyclists, and all park visitors.

The 100th anniversary of the National Park System in 2016 is a historic opportunity for Congress to ensure our national parks have the resources to thrive.

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About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.